Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 522–531 | Cite as

GIS-based numerical modelling of debris flow motion across three-dimensional terrain

  • Jian Wu
  • Guang-qi Chen
  • Lu Zheng
  • Ying-bin ZhangEmail author
Open Access


The objective of this study is to incorporate a numerical model with GIS to simulate the movement, erosion and deposition of debris flow across the three dimensional complex terrain. In light of the importance of erosion and deposition processes during debris flow movement, no entrainment assumption is unreasonable. The numerical model considering these processes is used for simulating debris flow. Raster grid networks of a digital elevation model in GIS provide a uniform grid system to describe complex topography. As the raster grid can be used as the finite difference mesh, the numerical model is solved numerically using the Leap-frog finite difference method. Finally, the simulation results can be displayed by GIS easily and used to debris flow evaluation. To illustrate this approach, the proposed methodology is applied to the Yohutagawa debris flow that occurred on 20th October 2010, in Amami-Oshima area, Japan. The simulation results that reproduced the movement, erosion and deposition are in good agreement with the field investigation. The effectiveness of the dam in this real-case is also verified by this approach. Comparison with the results were simulated by other models, shows that the present coupled model is more rational and effective.

Key words

Debris flow Numerical simulation GIS Movement Erosion Deposition Equilibrium concentration 


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jian Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guang-qi Chen
    • 1
  • Lu Zheng
    • 1
  • Ying-bin Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Structure Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Geo-disaster Prevention LaboratoryFukuokaJapan

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