Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 953–961 | Cite as

Characteristics of clustering debris flows in Wenchuan earthquake zone

  • Chao Ma
  • Kai-heng HuEmail author
  • Qiang Zou
  • Mi Tian


Clustering debris-flow events, namely many debris flows simultaneously triggered by a regional rainstorm in a large-scale mountainous area, occurred in four regions of Wenchuan earthquake stricken areas in 2008 and 2010. The characteristics of the clustering debris flows are examined with regard to triggering rainfall, formation process, and relationship with the earthquake by field survey and remote sensing interpretation. It is found that the clustering events occurred nearly at the same time with the local peak rainstorms, and the rainfall intensity-duration bottom limit line for clustering debris flows is higher than the worldwide line. It means that more rainfall is needed for the occurrence of the clustering debris flows. Four kinds of major formation processes for these debris flows are summarized: tributary-dominated, mainstream-dominated, transformation from slope failures, and mobilization or liquefaction of landslide. The four regions has a spatial correlation with the strong-quake-influenced zone with the peak ground acceleration = 0.2 g and the seismic intensity > X.


Clustering debris flows Wenchuan earthquake Rainfall threshold Formation process 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chao Ma
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kai-heng Hu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Qiang Zou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mi Tian
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface ProcessesChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  3. 3.Graduate school of Chinese Academy of ScienceBeijingChina

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