03 Jan 2023
03 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Debris-flow surges of a very active alpine torrent: a field database

Suzanne Lapillonne1, Firmin Fontaine1, Frédéric Liebault1, Vincent Richefeu2, and Guillaume Piton1 Suzanne Lapillonne et al.
  • 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, INRAE, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, IGE, Grenoble, France
  • 2Univ. Grenoble Alpes, 3SR, Gières, France

Abstract. This paper presents a protocol to analyze debris flow focusing on the surge scale rather than the full scale of the debris flow event, as well as its application to a French site. Providing bulk surge features like volume, peak discharge, front height, front velocity and Froude numbers allows for numerical and experimental debris flow investigations to be designed with narrower physical ranges and thus, for deeper scientific questions to be explored. We suggest a method to access such features at surge scale that can be applied to a wide variety of monitoring stations. Requirements for monitoring stations for the protocol to be applicable include (i) a flow stage measurements, (ii) a cross section hypothesis and (iii) a velocity estimation. Raw data from three monitoring stations on the Réal torrent (drainage area: 2 km2 , South-East France) are used to illustrate an application on 34 surges measured from 2011 to 2020 on the three monitoring stations. Volumes of debris-flow surges on the Réal Torrent are typically sized at a few thousand cubic meters. Peak flow height of surges range from 1 to 2 m. Peak discharge range around a few dozens cubic meters per second. Finally, we show that Froude numbers of such surges are near critical.

Suzanne Lapillonne et al.

Status: open (until 14 Feb 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'A comment on the availability of debris-flow data', Lorenzo Marchi, 09 Jan 2023 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1 on the availibility of debris flow data', Suzanne Lapillonne, 12 Jan 2023 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1297', Roland Kaitna, 26 Jan 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1297', Adam Emmer, 27 Jan 2023 reply

Suzanne Lapillonne et al.

Suzanne Lapillonne et al.


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Short summary
Debris flow are fast flows most often found in torrential watersheds. They are composed of two phases: a liquid phase which can be mud-like and a granular phase, including large boulders, which are transported along with the flow. Due to their destructive nature, accessing features of the flow, such as velocity and flow height is difficult. We present a protocol to analyze debris flow data and results on the Réal torrent in France. These results will help experts for the design of models.