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Landslides

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 183–194 | Cite as

Identification of alluvial fans susceptible to debris-flow hazards

  • Andrew Welsh
  • Tim DaviesEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

We describe and test a method for identifying alluvial fans likely to be affected by debris flows. It is based on identifying catchment parameters by geographical information system interrogation of a digital elevation model, using the Melton ratio as the discriminating parameter. The method was calibrated using data from debris-flow-generating catchments in Coromandel and the adjacent Kaimai Ranges, North Island, NZ, and tested against data from the rest of New Zealand. The procedure is remarkably (but not completely) reliable for identifying debris-flow-capable catchments, and thus fans, across the wide range of climates and lithologies in New Zealand mountains. A case study illustrates the potential of the method for avoiding future hazards and emphasises the need for a precautionary approach when field investigations do not detect evidence for past debris flows.

Keywords

Debris-flow hazards Hazard area identification GIS Catchment parameters Geomorphology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge support for this project from the Earthquake Commission of NZ; in-kind assistance and enthusiastic cooperation from Environment Waikato, NZ; and the geomorphic advice of Dr. M J McSaveney, GNS Science, Lower Hutt, NZ. Clive Sabel and Tom Cochrane of the University of Canterbury both provided invaluable technical advice.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Geological SciencesUniversity of CanterburyCanterburyNew Zealand

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