Numerical simulation of the December 1997 Debris Avalanche in Montserrat, Lesser Antilles

F Heinrich, G Boudon, JC Komorowski, RSJ Sparks, RA Herd, B Voight

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Emplacement of a debris avalanche in the White River valley of southern Montserrat (Lesser Antilles), on 26 December 1997, was caused by sector failure of the south flank of the active Soufriere Hills volcano. Pre- and post-emplacement surveys of the region indicate a debris avalanche deposit volume of about 40-50 x106 m3. This avalanche is modeled as the gravitational flow of a homogeneous continuum governed by a basal friction law. Mass and momentum equations are depth-averaged over the slide thickness. Numerical results show that the observed distribution of debris and duration of emplacement is simulated well for a Coulomb-type friction law with a dynamic friction coefficient dependent upon the thickness and the velocity of the flowing mass.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2529
Number of pages1
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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