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Landslide dam and subsequent dam-break flood estimation using HEC-RAS model in Northern Pakistan

Abstract

On the morning of January 4, 2010, a massive landslide swept the Attabad and Sarat villages into the Hunza River. The debris from the landslide blocked the low-lying river, creating a barrier lake in the area and poses a major threat to the villages located downstream. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the environmental advantages and disadvantages created by the formation of the artificial lake. For this purpose, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data were used to create the contours and triangulated irregular network (TIN) of the region. Data from ‘Google Earth’ image on March 19, 2010 were used as the reference and to determine the river bed elevation of the study area. Landsat satellite data of Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensor on January 10, March 15, April 24 and May 2, 2010, were used for constructing the Geographic Information System (GIS) layers of the river banks, land use area, overbank flow area and water area estimation. Our results show that the area covered by the water in the lake has increased from 1.28 km2 on January 10, 2010 to 6.25 km2 on May 2, 2010. The total upstream urban area affected by the river blockage is 13.99 km2. We also applied the Hydrologic Engineering Center River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model to estimate the potential catastrophes due to dam burst for different peak outflow scenarios with conclusions and recommendations.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to COMSATS Institute of Information Technology for providing funds for the current research. The authors are thankful to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) for providing data for the current study. The authors are also indebted to the Editor of the journal and anonymous referees for their useful suggestions and comments for the completion of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mohsin Jamil Butt.

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Butt, M.J., Umar, M. & Qamar, R. Landslide dam and subsequent dam-break flood estimation using HEC-RAS model in Northern Pakistan. Nat Hazards 65, 241–254 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-012-0361-8

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Keywords

  • Attabad
  • ASTER
  • ETM+
  • HEC-RAS
  • Arc-GIS