Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 778–792 | Cite as

Influence of inflow discharge and bed erodibility on outburst flood of landslide dam

  • Ming-jun Zhou
  • Gordon G. D. ZhouEmail author
  • Kahlil Fredrick E. Cui
  • Dong-ri Song
  • Xue-qiang Lu


Accurate prediction of the hydrographs of outburst floods induced by landslide dam overtopping failure is necessary for hazard prevention and mitigation. In this study, flume model tests on the breaching of landslide dams were conducted. Unconsolidated soil materials with wide grain size distributions were used to construct the dam. The effects of different upstream inflow discharges and downstream bed soil erosion on the outburst peak discharge were investigated. Experimental results reveal that the whole hydrodynamic process of landslide dam breaching can be divided into three stages as defined by clear inflection points and peak discharges. The larger the inflow discharge, the shorter the time it takes to reach the peak discharge, and the larger the outburst flood peak discharge. The scale of the outburst floods was found to be amplified by the presence of an erodible bed located downstream of the landslide dam. This amplification decreases with the increase of upstream inflow. In addition, the results show that the existence of an erodible bed increases the density of the outburst flow, increasing its probability of transforming from a sediment flow to a debris flow.


Landslide dam Inflow discharge Erodible bed Outburst flood 



the intersection point of downstream dam crest


the intersection point of upstream dam crest


width of dam crest

d16, d50, d84

grain sizes; subscript indicates percent smaller


void ratio


acceleration due to gravity


height of landslide dam


height of erodible bed


height of water level


height of water above final breach bottom


the depth of dam notch


potential energy of reservoir


the upstream inflow discharge


the outburst flood discharge


the outburst peak discharge




the initial time of dam breaching


time to peak discharge from the initiation of dam failure


volume of dammed lake


volume of landslide dam


volume of water above the final breach


the width of dam notch


width of landslide dam


coefficient for dam erodibility


rate of change of outburst discharge

β1, β2

rate of change of outburst discharge in Stage 1, Stage 2 respectively


dimensionless measure of the spread in the grain-size


angle of large flume


angle of upstream dam toe


angle of downstream dam toe


relative dimensionless discharge


the dimensionless density of outburst floods


the density of debris flow


the density of outburst flood


unit weight of solid material


friction angle of solid materials


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The authors acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41731283), the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (Grant No. QYZDB-SSW-DQC010), and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface Process / Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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