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July 24, 2013


Debris Flow Chasers

by Herb Saperstone

Debris flows are a type of landslide where a liquified jumble of earth and plant materials form a fast moving mixture following a rain event, dam breach or rapid snow or glacier melting ( from a volcanic eruption, for example). Here, people anticipated the flow along a dry creek bed and essentially ‘chased’ the event down as a storm chaser would track down severe weather such as an outbreak of tornadoes. Is this safe?…not at all! but what’s so eerie is the way the flow occurs well after the rain storm. This reminds me of the way tsunami waves devastate coastal areas, many hours after large submarine earthquakes generate their initial jolt.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Stephen Saperstone
    Jul 25 2013

    Awesome video! It appears that the speed of the flow is about jogging speed. Where does the debris end up? Does the water that catches up with the slower moving debris at the head of the flow eventually disperse the debris? Where’s the venue?


    Stephen H Saperstone Professor of Mathematics Department of Mathematical Sciences George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030-4444 Office: 4406 Exploratory Hall Email: TEL: 703.993.1486 Mail Stop: 3F2


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