Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 95–107 | Cite as

Curvature derived from LiDAR digital elevation models as simple indicators of debris-flow susceptibility

  • Atsuko NonomuraEmail author
  • Shuichi Hasegawa
  • Hideo Matsumoto
  • Mari Takahashi
  • Mina Masumoto
  • Kazuhito Fujisawa


To mitigate the damage caused by debris flows resulting from heavy precipitation and to aid in evacuation plan preparation, areas at risk should be mapped on a scale appropriate for affected individuals and communities. We tested the effectiveness of simply identifying debris-flow hazards through automated derivation of surface curvatures using LiDAR digital elevation models. We achieved useful correspondence between plan curvatures and areas of existing debris-flow damage in two localities in Japan using the analysis of digital elevation models (DEMs). We found that plan curvatures derived from 10m DEMs may be useful to indicate areas that are susceptible to debris flow in mountainous areas. In residential areas located on gentle sloping debris flow fans, the greatest damage to houses was found to be located in the elongated depressions that are connected to mountain stream valleys. Plan curvature derived from 5m DEM was the most sensitive indicators for susceptibility to debris flows.


Digital elevation model LiDAR Gridspacing Debris flow Geological hazard Curvature 


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This research was supported by the Crisis Management division of Toho village, and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number (18K04660). The LiDAR data were provided by the Kyushu branch of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Mr. Shuntaro Hayashi helped the research. Mr. Jason Murrin helped the English editing.


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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.Faculty of Engineering and designKagawa UniversityTakamatsuJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Education, Research and Regional Cooperation for Crisis Management ShikokuKagawa UniversityTakamatsuJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Engineering, Graduate school of EngineeringKagawa UniversityTakamatsuJapan

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