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Lahars: Origins, behavior and hazards: Advances in debris-flow science and practice

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Author(s): James W. Vallance

Category: BOOK
Document Type: Book
Publisher: Springer Link
Published Year: 2024
Pages: 347 to 382
DOI Identifier: 10.1007/978-3-031-48691-3_12
ISBN Identifier:

Volcanic debris flows that originate at potentially active volcanoes are called lahars. Lahars are like debris flows in non-volcanic terrain but can most notably differ in origin and size. Primary lahars occur during eruptions and may have novel origins such as turbulent mixing of hot rock moving across ice- and snow-clad volcanoes and eruptions through crater lakes. Lahars range in volume to more than a cubic kilometer (109 m3), with the biggest ones caused by huge deep-seated flank collapses of water-saturated edifice rock. Because they can be so voluminous, can have high water contents, and commonly can be clay rich, these lahars can travel tens to even hundreds of kilometers. Long transport causes evolution of flow types from flood flow to hyperconcentrated flow to debris flow. Lahars capable of traveling far downstream are commonly sufficiently liquefied that they drape valley slopes and leave behind thin deposits as they pass downstream. Only in valley bottoms are lahars likely to emplace thick deposits, and even there the deposits are apt to be much thinner than peak flow depths. Flows with long transport change character with time and distance downstream. Deposits, especially those in valley bottoms, can accrete during intervals that represent a significant proportion of the time it takes the flow to pass (typically minutes). The combination of flows changing character and their progressive accretion imposes distinctive characteristics on their deposits such as normal and inverse grading. Historically, lahars have caused thousands of fatalities and destroyed entire towns. Perhaps the most disastrous known lahar occurred in 1985 at Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia and killed more than 23,000 people. Since that disaster, an increasing awareness of lahar hazards has led to efforts to mitigate them. In recent decades, improved land-use decisions, monitoring and communication have improved hazard responses and saved many lives. Lahar hazard maps and development of lahar inundation models have helped planners and people at risk to better understand the nature of the risk owing to lahars.

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In Text Citation:
Vallance (2024) or (Vallance, 2024)

References Citation:
Vallance, J.W., 2024, Lahars: Origins, behavior and hazards: Advances in debris-flow science and practice: Book, Springer Link, pp. 347-382, doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-48691-3_12.