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

Jian Wu, Guang qi Chen, Lu Zheng, Ying bin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-531
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Mountain Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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