You are on page 1of 12

Original Article

Landslides (2008) 5:19–30 P. Bertolo . G. Bottino

DOI 10.1007/s10346-007-0099-7
Received: 6 March 2007
Accepted: 29 August 2007 Debris-flow event in the Frangerello Stream-Susa Valley
Published online: 17 November 2007
© Springer-Verlag 2007 (Italy)—calibration of numerical models for the back
analysis of the 16 October, 2000 rainstorm

Abstract Three debris-flow simulation model software have been Historical data and events
applied to the back analysis of a typical alpine debris flow that Examination of historical maps points out important variations
caused significant deposition on an urbanized alluvial fan. Param- both in general morphology and in urban settlement of Villar
eters used in the models were at first retrieved from the literature Focchiardo since the thirteenth century (Fig. 3). In the last 800 years,
and then adjusted to fit field evidence. In the case where different the Gravio Stream main channel migrated westward and was
codes adopted the same parameters, the same input values were artificially channelized, thus abandoning old beds. Furthermore,
used, and comparable outputs were obtained. Results of the con- Villar Focchiardo urban settlement did not expand much until the
stitutive laws used (Bingham rheology, Voellmy fluid rheology twentieth century, being confined in the upper portion of the fan.
and a quadratic rheology formulation which adds collisional and Only in the last 50 years has housing expanded in the lower part
turbulent stresses to the Bingham law) indicate that no single of the fan and near the fan apex. Aerial photographs of the fan
rheological model appears to be valid for all debris flows. The three area for 1957, 1971 and 2000 were analysed to outline new settle-
applied models appear to be capable of reasonable reproduction of ment areas, and Fig. 3 gives an idea of the rate of expansion.
debris-flow events, although with different levels of detail. The The catchment area and the alluvial fan of the Gravio-Frangerello
study shows how different software can be used to predict the Streams, like many other catchment areas in the Susa Valley, have
debris-flow motion for various purposes from a first screening, to suffered multiple flood and debris-flow events during historic times.
predict the runout distance and deposition of the solid material and Careful research in Villar Focchiardo municipality archives,
to the different behaviour of the mixtures of flows with variation of provincial archives and databases, in the Bussoleno and Villar
maximum solid concentration. Focchiardo civic library and in the local parish archive, with some
interviews with the local population, leads to a database of 39
Keywords Debris flows . Models . Rheology . Prediction significant rainfall-related events starting from 1400 A.D. to 2000,
on 28 different dates (in some events, several streams caused
Introduction damages on the same date), as shown in Table 1. The severity level
The Frangerello Stream fan was studied as an example of parameter of the event as determined in Table 1 takes into account the aerial
calibration for numerical simulation and behaviour prediction of extension of the weather event (e.g. local or regional), the damages
debris flows. The study area of Frangerello Stream catchment is (e.g. only one catchment involved or several streams) and victims.
located in the Piedmont Alpine (Coatian Alps) foothills and, in In 41% of the events (16 episodes, 3 of these in the last century)
particular, on the right orographic side of the central part of the houses and human settlements were damaged, whereas in the
Susa Valley about 40 km west of Turin. It flows down within the remaining events fields and local roads were damaged, usually with
catchment area of the Dora Riparia River, a left-bank tributary of bridges destroyed. In two events (1866 and 1891), people were
the Po River. reported to be killed.
Frangerello stream is a right-bank tributary of the Gravio Stream, The analysis of the events shows that 90% of the processes with
but they join together just below the fan apex to form a single fan associated damages are torrential flooding, 25% of which are
(Fig. 1). The municipality of Villar Focchiardo is located on the confirmed to be debris-flow phenomena, along minor branches or
Gravio-Frangerello fan. side streams with fans. Other flood events were caused by the Dora
Riparia River that flowed in the bottom of the Susa Valley. In six
Hydrological conditions events all the streams together caused damages in the urban area.
The climate of the study is southern Alpine, characterized by two With regard to the seasonality, 60% of the events occurred in
rainfall maxima, in spring and fall (Fig. 2). Winter is relatively dry, the spring (from April to June); in this the period of the year,
but intense summer rain storms can affect the region. Mean annual almost all the events involved more extended areas, and all of the
precipitation of the area is about 750 mm/year, based on the streams were reactivated at the same time. Many events took place
analysis of the 1915–1986 Bussoleno rain gauge data. in May (30% of the total), followed by June (with 20% of the
Rainfall frequency averages 70 days/year, and the majority events) and September (15%).
of small flood events that occur in the valley can be explained
because of the intensity of rainfall rather than the total amount of October 2000 event description
rain. Intense and continuous rainfall events are common during In October 2000, the heavy rainfalls (Fig. 4) triggered several
September and October and originate when cold north-Atlantic torrential floods and debris flows all along the Susa Valley, with
air masses descend towards the Mediterranean area and meet the important reactivation on several alluvial fans formerly inactive for
African warmer air. a long time.

Landslides 5 • (2008) 19
Original Article
Fig. 1 Sketch map of catchments in
Villar Focchiardo town

In 4 days, from the 13th to 16th of October, a total amount of The debris flow of 15 October, 2000 in Frangerello Stream,
330 mm of rain, more than 40% of the mean annual precipitation, originated by a shallow landslide in the Quaternary deposits at
fell at the Bussoleno rain gauge, with a maximum intensity of 1,600 m a.s.l., on the right side of the stream. The landslide volume
18.8 mm/h at 11 A.M. on 14 October. A debris flow in the Frangerello was estimated at about 18,000 m3 after on-site measurements of the
Stream caused considerable bank erosion, structural damage to scar area. Most of the landslide material immediately impacted the
facilities and functional damage to roads and to several houses water course and started to rush downstream, reaching the fan area
located on the alluvial fan. at about 7 in the morning.

Fig. 2 Median monthly rainfall at the

Bussoleno rain gauge

20 Landslides 5 • (2008)
A secondary type of deposition is the fine-grained material that
overflowed the primary deposits described above, leaving the
channel and arresting on a meadow on the right side of the stream,
just before a block of houses. This fluid mass deposited over an
estimated area of 11,000 m2 (Fig. 5).
Field observations regarding the debris-flow event in the
Frangerello Stream (Fig. 5) were taken into consideration and
used as a basis for the back analysis, to calibrate the models
suitable for overflow process simulation on the fan.
The velocity of the flow in a curved sector (point D, Fig. 5) was
evaluated (Costa 1984), measuring the superelevation angle of
the flow surface between the inside and the outside of the bend
( δ≈9°) and the radius of curvature of the channel (r≈23 m). Using
the formula v ¼ ðr  tan δ  g Þ , the estimated velocity in that
point was v=6 m/s.
Table 2 summarizes the physical characteristics of the Gravio
and Frangerello Stream catchments, while Table 3 shows the elab-
oration for the Frangerello Stream maximum discharge for dif-
ferent time of occurrence: the water flow discharge evaluation was
obtained using the Bussoleno rain gauge data as the average
between results obtained using the kinematic method and the Soil
Conservation Service method.

Methods and results

DAMBRK model
A preliminary numerical model of the 16 October, 2000 debris-flow
event was carried out with the Boss DAMBRK software. This code
allows a numerical simulation to predict the formation and the
behaviour of a dam-break wave in moving downstream in a natural
Fig. 3 Historic evolution of urban development and Gravio streamcourse on Villar riverbed. Alternatively, with a given hydrograph, the program
Focchiardo alluvial fan models the evolution of the resulting flood wave downstream the
inflow point, accounting of the flow resistances and the presence of
hydraulic infrastructures, determining the flow depth at different
times and lamination effects.
The channel bed suffered considerable widening, deepening The flow regime can vary between subcritical and supercritical
and bank erosion, chiefly between 900 and 1,500 m a.s.l., and and can vary in space and time. The program can route flows with
immediately above the fan apex. Walking upstream the fan apex fluid properties (Newtonian fluids) or flows with significant solid
400 m along the channel (point C, Fig. 5), evidence of the debris transport (non-Newtonian fluids, such as debris flows). Governing
flow was found as high as 10 m above the channel bottom, where equations are the 1-D Saint-Venant equations, coupled with specific
the stream flows mainly in bedrock. In the channel, several sections equations to take into account the flow through the dam breach
were obstructed by large boulders and many fallen trees, which and other hydraulic infrastructures along the stream. There are
would have temporarily hindered the main stream flow, with other equations for upstream and downstream boundary conditions.
resulting small dam-break effects. The rheological parameters of dynamic viscosity and yield
As noted by eyewitnesses, the event came in pulses and consisted strength enter into the definition of the term that is related in the
of an essentially fine-grained fluid mixture with suspended vegetal momentum equation to the energy loss due to the non-Newtonian
debris following behind a coarser debris-flow front: this is typical of fluid. The DAMBRK code uses the empirical relationship of
a debris-flow behaviour, but it was not modelled in our analyses. Bingham to evaluate this term (Boss Corporation 1989). The resisting
The debris-flow discharge exceeded the water-carrying capacity of force (τ) is a function of flow depth (y), velocity (v), constant yield
the channel on the left bank around 530 m a.s.l. (point A, Fig. 5), strength (τ0) and Bingham viscosity (μB)
corresponding to the fan apex, and downstream on the right bank
at 510 m a.s.l. (point B, Fig. 5), just upstream of a small bridge, which @v
τ ¼ τ 0 þ μB :
is straight section, flooding meadows on the right side. @y
Two types of deposit that resulted from this event were
observed. At the fan apex and immediately upstream, the deposit The few indications found in the literature about μB and τ0
reached locally 3–4 m in thickness, with boulders of different sizes, values belong to a wide range; on account of this, an order of
mainly large blocks of several cubic meters each. At a couple of magnitude of input parameters was selected as a result of literature
stream points, the flow eroded its deposits. data and back analyses (Table 4) performed with the same software

Landslides 5 • (2008) 21
Original Article
Table 1 Dataset of flooding events which involved Villar Focchiardo town
Date Weather event type Involved streams Effects/measures Severity
Around 1450 and in 1469 Not determined Gravio Overflow; severe damages to the village B
April 1473 Severe rainstorm and Gravio Debris flow; severe damages to fields and to the village A
cloudburst Fontane Debris flow; destruction of Chartreuse
1685 Not determined All streams overflow Severe damages to fields and houses B
1706 Severe rainstorms All streams overflow Severe damages to fields and houses; complete destruction A
of the old Parish Church
1725 Not determined Battibò Severe damages to fields and to local roads, probably as B
consequence of a debris flow
May, 1757 Rainstorms Gravio Fields damaged; partially removed the dyke built to protect C
the village
16 January, 1790 Rainstorms Gravio Threat of flooding B
Chiapinetto Debris flow; flooding of the settled area and fields on the
right and on the left bank
October, 1839 Rainstorms Gravio Large boulders reached the fan area; damages to fields B
May 1846 Not determined Battibò Flood; severe damages to properties: fields and houses B
25 September, 1866 Severe rainstorms Gravio Flood damages the settled area A
Chiapinetto Mass transport phenomenon: severe damages to the village,
dead (3?) and structural damages to buildings
Spring 1876 Severe rainstorms Gravio Mass transport phenomenon: levee destruction and damages B
to fields and to the village
Battibò Flood; severe damages to properties: fields and houses
1 June, 1891 Continuous rainfall and Battibò Debris flow: all the houses in Gerbola block destroyed; A
rainstorm several dead (5?) and missing
20 June, 1908 Flooding All streams overflow Several damages to local roads; gravel and mud deposits C
5 June, 1910 Flooding Dora Riparia River Flood; severe damages to private and public properties B
Spring 1911 Severe rainstorms Chiapinetto Mass transport phenomenon: damages to fields and to B
local roads
24–25 September, 1920 Continuous rainfall Gravio Bridges destroyed C
May, 1926 Continuous rainfall All streams overflow Several damages to local roads; gravel and mud deposits C
11 May, 1947 Continuous rainfall Gravio and Frangerello Torrential flood: roads, 4 bridges and levees destroyed; A
damages to fields
Chiapinetto 2 bridges removed and damages to levees
Battibò Torrent overflow with levees and roads destroyed
25 September, 1947 Continuous rainfall Gravio and Frangerello Aggravation of May 1947 flood damages, field flooded C
May, 1948 Rainstorms Gravio Severe damages to fields along the stream; a bridge destroyed C
May, 1949 Continuous rainfall Chiapinetto Overflow; destroyed 1 bridge and local roads; damages to B
private properties
Battibò Overflow; aggravation of May 1947 flood damages, levees
Fall 1954 Rainstorm Gravio Levees and banks damaged by torrential flood C
3 November, 1956 – Gravio Several boulders fell into the stream C
13 June, 1957 Continuous rainfall Dora Riparia River Flood; functional damages to buildings along the river A
7 November, 1962 Continuous rainfall Gravio Torrential flood; damages to local roads C
Chiapinetto Torrential flood; floodwaters leaking settled areas
31 March, 1981 Flooding Chiapinetto Settlements and fields flooded B
Battibò Torrential flood; two bridges destroyed, local roads
damaged and fields flooded
15–16 October, 2000 Continuous and severe Chiapinetto and Bedload transport; fields flooded A
rainfall Battibò
Gravio and Frangerello Debris flow; 3 bridges removed and fields flooded by a
debris flow; severe bank erosion on fan apex
Dora Riparia River Flooded fields along the river course
Severity levels: A catastrophic, B severe, C moderate

for debris flows in the Kamikamihori Stream, in Japan, and in the flow discharge (m3/s), the overflow discharge at left and right banks
Moscardo Stream, Carnic Alps, Italy (Bertolo et al. 2005). (m3/s), the mean velocity (m/s) and the flow depth (m).
The back analysis applied values are listed in Table 5, and Figure 6 shows the modelled hydrographs for five different
output data at each cross-section for each time step are the debris- locations along the channel. Section 0 represents the debris-flow

22 Landslides 5 • (2008)
Fig. 4 Rainfall recorded at Bussoleno
rain gauge during the October, 2000
flooding event

starting point; section 3.3 (at about 3.3 km of longitudinal distance because of a bridge and where the side is 2 m high only, the fluid
from the initial point of the simulation) is just downstream the fan overflowed the right bank.
apex, and the simulation confirms what happened during the 16 The pattern of flow rates with time at different locations shows a
October, 2000 event when, in this section that is quite narrow certain attenuation of the peak discharge and a progressive

Fig. 5 Map of the flooded area of

the Frangerello Stream debris flow
and the Gravio Stream flooding
during the October, 2000 event

Landslides 5 • (2008) 23
Original Article
Table 2 Relevant physical character- Relevant catchment parameters Gravio Stream Frangerello Stream
istics of the Gravio and Frangerello
Catchment area (S; km2 ) 17.9 3.6
Maximum catchment elevation (Hmax; m a.s.l.) 2,801, Mt. Cristalliera 2,087, Mt. Salancia
Mean catchment elevation (Hm; m a.s.l.) 1,702 1,328
Fan apex elevation (H0; m a.s.l.) 500 500
Channel length (L; km) 9.63 4.21
Mean side slope (im; %) 62.2 54.2
Mean channel slope (ia; %) 16.3 30.2
Mean time of concentration (h) 1.29 0.51

Table 3 Maximum discharge for different recurrence intervals in Frangerello DAN model
Stream The analysis using the DAN model (Hungr 1995) was carried out
with a simplified profile and with different rheologies but main-
Frangerello Stream: maximum discharge Qmax (m3 /s)
taining constant the path and the volume of about 18,000 m3 of the
Interval of occurrence (years) C=0.7 C=0.8 C=0.9
initial sliding material. First of all, a back analysis using the same
T=20 24 28 31
data as in the DAMBRK Bingham rheology model was performed.
T=50 28 33 37
The input parameters using the same Bingham rheology (BIN1 in
T=100 32 36 41
Fig. 7) as in DAMBRK code are listed in Table 6.
T=200 35 40 45
T=500 39 44 50 A second trial changing Bingham parameters (BIN2 in Fig. 7) was
performed to simulate a more fluid flow, with higher water content
and mobility. The selected values are listed in Table 6. Several studies
(Ayotte and Hungr 2000; Köerner 1976; Rickenmann and Koch 1997)
suggest that the Voellmy rheology is more reliable for debris-flow
simulations. A couple of computations have been conducted using the
smoothing of the initial input hydrograph. This is the flood wave Voellmy rheology for the 16 October, 2000 debris flow in Frangerello
attenuation, and it can be seen especially along the channel in its Stream, starting from literature data.
terminal branch. The input values used for the Voellmy rheology (VOE2 in Fig. 7)
With regard to the velocities, the obtained values vary from 2.5 are listed in Table 6, and the variation of parameters along the flow
to 10 m/s: in detail, the maximum velocity simulated for section 3.3 path was intended to allow for the natural progressive increase of
(fan apex) is 7 m/s, and in the fan area, it decreases at 1.4 m/s, a water content in the flow, in particular 3,500 m downstream of the
velocity that allows the deposition of the major part of the coarse starting point, where there is tributary water inflow of the Gravio
solid material (e.g. Hjulstöm’s diagram). Stream.

Table 4 Boss DAMBRK literature data Event Date Unit weight flow Viscosity Yield strength
for input parameter calibration mixture γ (kN/m3 ) μB (kN∙s/m2 ) τ0 (kN/m2 )
Literature data (Boss DAMBRK-User’s manual 1989)
Jinshan debris reservoir, Anhui, China 1980 15.7 0.0021 0.038
Albertfan coal waste dump failure, Wales 1965 17.64 0.958 4.794
Rudd Creek landslide-induced mudflow, 1983 15.75 0.958 0.956
Davis County, Utah
Previous back analyses values (Bertolo et al. 2005)
Kamikamihori Stream, Japan Aug. 3, 1976 22 1 0.2
Kamikamihori Stream, Japan Aug. 17, 1978 22.5 1.1 0.2
Moscardo Stream, Italy Aug. 13, 1991 17.7 0.29 0.1
Moscardo Stream, Italy Sept. 30, 1991 18.5 0.6 0.18

Table 5 Parameter values used to perform the back analyses using Boss DAMBRK
Boss DAMBRK-back analysis values
Peak discharge Qmax [m3 /s] Unit weight flow mixture γ [kN/m3 ] Viscosity μB [kN∙s/m2 ] Yield strength τ0 [kN/m2 ] Volume concentration
24 2.2 1.5 0.4 0.8

24 Landslides 5 • (2008)
Fig. 6 Frangerello Stream: DAMBRK
modeled hydrograph for five cross

Figure 7 shows the behaviour of the flow with the different at the fan apex cross section is about the same for the different
rheologies in terms of velocity. It can be clearly seen that Bingham rheologies, and it is in good agreement with what actually happened
rheology highly overestimates the velocity in the upper portion of during the 16 October, 2000 flood event.
the stream, with values up to 70 m/s. Velocity values obtained with
the Bingham rheology in the fan area gently slow down until the FLO-2D model
velocity reaches a negligible value, when the flow is about to stop. To simplify the model and to speed up the running time, the FLO-
In particular, velocities drop quickly in the fan area. The fan apex is 2D back analysis was separated into two steps. The first part of the
located at a distance of 2,900 m from the starting point of the model deals with the upper portion of the channel on the mountain
debris flow, and here the simulated velocities are 8 m/s with the slope, where the stream is very steep and deeply carved so that it is
first set of Bingham parameters, corresponding to the DAMBRK impossible to have overflow. The second part of the model is rel-
model results, and 18 m/s with the second set of parameters, which ative to the portion immediately upstream of the fan and through
is a considerable difference. the fan area. Due to lack of topographic data on the mountain flank,
Peak velocity values obtained with the Voellmy rheology are compared with the riverbed, which is quite narrow (width varying
smaller (20 to 30 m/s) compared to values obtained with Bingham from 6 to 10 m), the upstream channel simulation was carried out
rheology, in the upper portion of the stream, where the slope is with a 50×50 m grid. On the fan, the channel is wider, and a greater
steeper, although they are higher in the fan area. accuracy is needed; in this area, more topographic points are
In the cross section representing the fan apex, the simulated available, and therefore, cells with a 30-m side were employed.
velocities are 18 and 20 m/s, and they decrease regularly for the Manning coefficient n values, based on field observations, were
next 400 m, from 8 to 2 m/s: after which, at about 3,850 m distant, selected as 0.05 to 0.2 for the floodplains and 0.04 to 0.75 for the
the flow stops. channels.
The front height comparison (Fig. 8) shows that the flow depth The input hydrograph for the mountain reach of the stream,
varies from 3 to 4.5 m in the stream channel compared to the flow which corresponds with the stretch between 1,600 and 800 m a.s.l.,
depth on the fan where it decreases to about 2 m. The front height is shown in Fig. 9. The water discharge at the starting point of
the flow was evaluated with standard hydraulic formulations
(Kinematic and Soil Conservation Service methods), using data for
the 100-year return level. In the mountain reach simulation,
another cell with a constant inflow of 10 m3/s was assigned to
simulate the inflow from small tributaries that drain the catchment
area downstream from the debris-flow starting point.
For the lower reach of the Frangerello Stream, the outflow from
the upper stream portion increased by 10 m3/s of water to cover the
natural progressive increase of water content in the flow, leading to
the inflow hydrograph, resulting in Fig. 10.
At about 490 m a.s.l. the tributary water inflow from the Gravio
Stream, with a constant discharge of 80 m3/s, which is the 100-year
return level, was added to the flow.
The sediment hydrograph was calculated to represent the total
Fig. 7 Velocity values obtained with the DAN model along Frangerello Stream volume of about 18,000 m3 of the shallow landslide in the Qua-

Landslides 5 • (2008) 25
Original Article
Table 6 Parameter values used to perform the back analyses using DAN
Unit weight solid Unit weight flow Viscosity Yield strength Friction Turbulence
material γ (kN/m3 ) mixture γ (kN/m3 ) μB (kN∙s/m2 ) τ0 (kN/m2 ) coefficient coefficient ξ (m/s2 )
DAN-back analysis values-Bingham rheology BIN1
Initial sliding volume, 18,000 m3 26 22 1.5 0.4
DAN-back analysis values-Bingham rheology BIN2
Initial sliding volume, 18,000 m3 26 22 0.9 0.24
DAN-back analysis values-Voellmy rheology VOE2-initial sliding material
Initial sliding volume, 18,000 m3 26 22 0.16 300
DAN-back analysis values-Voellmy rheology VOE2-along stream
Path sections from 800 to 3,500 m 26 20 0.14 400
Path sections from 3,500 to 4,800 m 26 20 0.10 1,000

ternary deposits at 1,600 m a.s.l. that fell into the stream on 16 downstream from the starting point, in the Frangerello Stream fan
October, 2000. The maximum sediment concentration by volume flatter areas, and becomes different again after the Gravio Stream
at the beginning of the simulation was up to 75% (Fig. 9). discharge increases the flow, a circumstance that cannot be modelled
To define the rheological parameters in the debris flow, the pro- with DAN.
gram requires the coefficient and the exponent of the relationships: The front height (Fig. 12), using FLO-2D, seems to be more
realistic than results obtained with the DAN model, although FLO-2D
μ ¼ αeβCv τ y ¼ αeβCv seems to overestimate the flow depth in the first outflow section
(point A, Fig. 5), with a value of about 4 m.
where Cv is the volume concentration. For the viscosity μ a co- Figure 13 shows the maximum overflow expansion simulated by
efficient α=0.72 and an exponent β=11 were used, and for the yield the FLO-2D code, and comparison with Fig. 5 emphasizes the good
stress τy, a value of the coefficient α=0.054 and exponent β=14.5 agreement of the simulation with what actually happened in the
were applied, starting with literature values (FLO-2D Users Manual, floodplain area during the 16 October, 2000 event. The FLO-2D
2003). model allows analysis of the behaviour of the same discharge under
Figure 11 shows a velocity range of 3 to 8 m/s, with a minimum at three different conditions: a pure water flow, a flow with 30% solid
the fan apex cross section, where the flow starts to deposit. The material at the starting point and a flow with about 60% in volume
velocity increases after the Gravio Stream confluence because the of solid discharge at the beginning of the debris flow, which is the
flow is more fluid due to higher water content. back analysis of the 16 October, 2000 event.
Figure 14 shows the maximum flow depth along the channel in
Discussion the lower reach of the Frangerello stream, for the three concentra-
Velocity comparisons (Fig. 11) show that values obtained with the tions: this demonstrates how the same discharge differs depending
DAN model using Voellmy rheology are very different from values on the quantity of solid material in the flow.
obtained with FLO-2D in the mountain reach of Frangerello Stream This latter analysis points out that the concentration of the
whereas are quite similar in the stretch between 3,100 and 3,500 m water-sediment mixture is an important parameter for accurate

Fig. 8 Comparison of front height

values obtained using the DAN model
for the Frangerello Stream

26 Landslides 5 • (2008)
Fig. 9 Inflow hydrograph in the upper
reach of the Frangerello Stream

Fig. 10 Inflow hydrograph for the

lower reach of the Frangerello Stream

Fig. 11 Comparison of velocity values

obtained with the Voellmy model
(using the DAN code) and using the
FLO-2D model

Landslides 5 • (2008) 27
Original Article
Fig. 12 Comparison of flow depth
values obtained using the Voellmy
model (DAN code) and the FLO-2D

hazard zoning and design of effective countermeasures against complexity of the events which can be produced even for the same
debris flows. Figure 15 shows the different areas flooded for the channel.
different concentrations. The following conclusions were reached:
The same bulked discharge with 60% solid volume concentra-
tion floods a larger area (the red area, which is also beneath the 1. A first analysis of the debris-flow event in Frangerello Stream
blue-green and the yellow area) than the same bulked discharge was accomplished with the Boss DAMBRK software using the
with 30% solid volume (the yellow area, which is also beneath the Bingham rheology. In this simulation, good results were obtained
blue-green area). in terms of debris-flow front height. The parameters of yield
strength and Bingham viscosity found to be the best values to
represent the event were then used when applying the Bingham
Conclusions rheology with the DAN model, obtaining comparable results.
The study has pointed out that different rheological models appear 2. The DAN model gave good results for the analysis of the debris-
to be necessary to evaluate different characteristics of the same flow event in the Frangerello Stream, using the Voellmy rhe-
debris flow, but there is not a unique model to represent the full ology and varying the parameters along the flow path to allow

Fig. 13 Debris flow on 16 October,

2000: maximum flow expansion simu-
lated with the FLO-2D model

28 Landslides 5 • (2008)
Fig. 14 Comparison of front velocities
for flows with different solid concen-
tration, modelled with FLO-2D

for the natural progressive increase of water content in the flow,

in particular where the tributary water inflow of the Gravio
Stream water joined the main channel. The decrease of solid
concentration in the flow results in a decrease of the friction
coefficient but with an increase of the turbulence coefficient.
Flow depth values are realistic and seem to confirm what
happened during the 16 October, 2000 event, but velocity values
appear to be too high in the mountain portion of the stream
and too low in the terminal fan reach.
3. The FLO-2D model was also applied to the debris-flow back
analysis. To get reliable results using this model, it is necessary
to have a high-resolution Digital Elevation Model. With FLO-
2D, a more accurate analysis can be performed, accounting for
the progressive increase of discharge due to the lateral inflow
from mountain sides and minor tributaries.
The model enables the hydraulics of a water-sediment flow
surge to be followed during and after the event. The most
significant hydraulic results yielded by the model are the
maximum height and velocity reached by the flow in each cell
throughout the entire simulation.
4. The numerical simulation carried out in the Frangerello Stream
for the same bulk discharge with different sediment concentra-
tions showed that the dynamic characteristics of a solid–liquid
mixture are different (higher concentration produces a flow
with higher depth but slower velocities) compared to a pure
water flow.
5. Flood mitigation and design of infrastructures along channels
should take into consideration the different rheological behav-
iours of hyperconcentrated sediment flows, such as floods,
mudflows and debris flows.
6. The calibration of all of these models is not advanced enough to
allow one to rely on pre-determined input parameters from the
literature. That is why local calibration, using back-analysis of
debris flow that happened in the vicinity of the project area, is
Fig. 15 Flooded areas for flows of the same discharge with different solid necessary to obtain reliable predictions of intensity parameters
concentrations, modelled with FLO-2D such as flow velocity and depth for future debris-flow events.

Landslides 5 • (2008) 29
Original Article
References Hungr O (1995) A model for the runout analysis of rapid flow slide, debris flow, and
avalanches. Can Geotech J 32:610–623
Ayotte D, Hungr O (2000) Calibration of a runout prediction model for debris-flows and Köerner HJ (1976) Reichweite und Geschwindigkeit von Bergsturzen und fleisschnee-
avalanches. In: Wieczorek GF, Naeser ND (eds) Debris-flow hazards mitigation: lawinen. Rock Mech 8:225–256
mechanics, prediction, and assessment. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 505–514 Rickenmann D, Koch T (1997) Comparison of debris flow modelling approaches. In: Chen
Bertolo P, Bottino G, Rosso M (2005) Esempio di modellazione di colate detritiche CL (ed) Proceedings of the First International Conference Debris-Flow Hazard
mediante il programma Boss DAMBRK. GEAM, 115, June-September 2005, (in Italian): Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction and Assessment. ASCE, New York, N.Y., pp 576–585
Boss Corporation (1989) Boss DAMBRK—User’s manual. Boss International, Inc., P. Bertolo ()) . G. Bottino
pp 133–210 Politecnico di Torino-DITAG,
Costa JE (1984) Physical geomorphology of debris flows. In: Costa JE, Fleisher PJ (eds) Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24,
Developments and applications of geomorphology. Springer, New York, pp 268–317 10129 Torino, Italy
FLO-2D (2003) Users manual. Version 2003.06. Nutrioso, Arizona e-mail:

30 Landslides 5 • (2008)