Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-312
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-312
11 Mar 2024
 | 11 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Variation of sediment supply by periglacial debris flows at Zelunglung in the eastern syntaxis of Himalayas since the 1950 Assam Earthquake

Kaiheng Hu, Hao Li, Shuang Liu, Li Wei, Xiaopeng Zhang, Limin Zhang, Bo Zhang, and Manish Raj Gouli

Abstract. Periglacial debris flows boosted by strong earthquakes or climatic warming in alpine mountains play a crucial role in sediment delivery from hillslopes and downslope channels into rivers. Rapid and massive sediment supply to rivers by the debris flows has profoundly influenced the evolution of the alpine landscape. Nonetheless, there is a dearth of knowledge concerning the roles tectonic and climatic factors played in the intensified sediment erosion and transportation. In order to increase our awareness of the mass wasting processes and glacier changes, five debris flows that occurred at the Zelunglung catchment of the eastern syntaxis of the Himalayas since 1950 Assam earthquake are investigated in detail by field surveys and long-term remote sensing interpretation. Long-term seismic and meteorological data indicate that the four events of 1950–1984 were the legacies of the earthquake, and recent warming events drove the 2020 event. The transported sediment volume indexed with a non-vegetated area on the alluvial fan reduced by 91 % to a stable low level nearly 40 years after 1950. It is reasonable to hypothesize that tectonic and climatic factors alternately drive the sediment supplies caused by the debris flows. High concentrations of coarse grains, intense erosion, and extreme impact force of the 2020 debris flow raised concerns about the impacts of such excess sediment inputs on the downstream river evolution and infrastructure safety. In regard to the hydrometeorological conditions of the main river, the time to evacuate the transported coarse sediments is approximately two orders of magnitude of the recurrence period of periglacial debris flows.

Kaiheng Hu, Hao Li, Shuang Liu, Li Wei, Xiaopeng Zhang, Limin Zhang, Bo Zhang, and Manish Raj Gouli

Status: open (until 22 Apr 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-312', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 Mar 2024 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Kaiheng Hu, 20 Mar 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-312', Aaron Bufe, 21 Mar 2024 reply
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Kaiheng Hu, 29 Mar 2024 reply
Kaiheng Hu, Hao Li, Shuang Liu, Li Wei, Xiaopeng Zhang, Limin Zhang, Bo Zhang, and Manish Raj Gouli
Kaiheng Hu, Hao Li, Shuang Liu, Li Wei, Xiaopeng Zhang, Limin Zhang, Bo Zhang, and Manish Raj Gouli

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Short summary
This paper shows how glacier-related sediment supply changes in response to earthquakes and climate warming at a catchment in the eastern Himalayas using several decades of aerial imagery and high-resolution UAV data. The results highlight the importance of debris-flow-driven extreme sediment delivery on landscape change in High Mountain Asia that have undergone substantial climate warming. This study is helpful for a better understanding of future risk of periglacial debris flows.