JDR Vol.11 No.4 pp. 720-731
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2016.p0720


Spatial-Temporal Assessment of Debris Flow Risk in the Ms8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake-Disturbed Area

Xin Yao and Lingjing Li

Institute of Geomechanics, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Key Laboratory of Neotectonic Movement and Geohazards, Ministry of Land and Mineral Resources
No.11, South Road of Nationality University, 10086, Haidian District, Beijng, China

Corresponding author,

March 14, 2016
June 22, 2016
August 1, 2016
Wenchuan earthquake, debris flow, earthquake-disturbed area, rainfall threshold, geohazard assessment

For 5 years (2009–2013) after the 2008 Ms8.0 Wenchuan earthquake, rainfall led to the transformation of unconsolidated co-seismic deposits into extensive and severe debris flows, causing significant loss of life and property. For debris flows in the earthquake-disturbed area, a few common concerns exist. What is their spatial-temporal distribution? What are the controlling factors? How much is the rainfall threshold for debris flows? What areas are more susceptible? Where suffered the most severe losses of life and property? Using debris flow characteristics, this study analyzes the relationships between seismic geological factors, geomorphologic factors, extreme rainfall, and debris flows in the 5 years following the earthquake, and draws the following conclusions. (1) There are regional differences in the rainfall threshold for generation of debris flows, and the annual maximum 72-hour accumulated rainfall for triggering a debris flow decreases from pre-seismic periods (135–325 mm) to post-seismic periods (75–160 mm) by 44.4–50.8% in study area. (2) Areas with high debris flow susceptibility and hazard are primarily controlled by seismic geological conditions. (3) The long-term risk of debris flows will fall to moderate, and the affected area will shrink to that around the seismogenic fault. The results of this study will help with meteorological early warning systems, deployment of disaster prevention and control projects, and reconstruction site selection in the post-seismic Longmen Mountain area.

Cite this article as:
X. Yao and L. Li, “Spatial-Temporal Assessment of Debris Flow Risk in the Ms8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake-Disturbed Area,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.11, No.4, pp. 720-731, 2016.
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Last updated on Jul. 12, 2019