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TitleDebris flow susceptibility mapping using a qualitative heuristic method and Flow-R along the Yukon Alaska Highway Corridor, Canada
AuthorBlais-Stevens, A; Behnia, P
SourceNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences vol. 16, (2016), issue 2, 2016 p. 449-462,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20150052
PublisherCopernicus Publications
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
NTS115A; 115B; 115F/16; 115G; 115K
AreaYukon Alaska Highway Corridor; Kluane Lake
Lat/Long WENS-141.0569 -136.9147 62.5739 60.6292
Subjectssedimentology; surficial geology/geomorphology; debris flows; landslides; erosion susceptibility; modelling; debris flow deposits
Illustrationslocation maps; tables; graphs; geographic maps; photographs
ProgramPublic Safety Geoscience - Coordination, Public Safety Geoscience
AbstractThis research activity aimed at reducing risk to infrastructure, such as a proposed pipeline route roughly parallel to the Yukon Alaska Highway Corridor (YAHC) by filling geoscience knowledge gaps in geohazards. Hence, the Geological Survey of Canada compiled an inventory of landslides including debris flow deposits, which were subsequently used to validate two different debris flow susceptibility models. A qualitative heuristic debris flow susceptibility model was produced for the northern region of the YAHC, from Kluane Lake to the Alaska border, by integrating data layers with assigned weights and class ratings. These were slope angle, slope aspect (derived from a 5x5 m DEM), surficial geology, permafrost distribution, and proximity to drainage system. Validation of the model was carried out by calculating a success rate curve which revealed a good correlation with the susceptibility model and the debris flow deposit inventory compiled from air photos, high resolution satellite imagery, and field verification. In addition, the quantitative Flow-R method was tested in order to define the potential source and debris flow susceptibility for the southern region of Kluane Lake, an area where documented debris flow events have blocked the highway in the past (e.g., 1988). Trial and error calculations were required for this method because there was not detailed information on the debris flows for the YAHC to allow us to define threshold values for some parameters when calculating source areas, spreading, and runout distance. Nevertheless, correlation with known documented events helped define these parameters and produce a map that captures most of the known events and displays debris flow susceptibility in other, usually smaller, steep channels that had not been previously documented.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This study has tested two debris flow susceptibility methods in areas along the Yukon Alaska Highway corridor. One knowledge driven qualitative method for a the northern part of the corridor and one data driven quantitative method for a smaller area close to Kluane Lake within the corridor. Both methods have shown good correlation with documented debris flow inventory.