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Simulation of some debris flows in Klanawa watershed in Vancouver, British Columbia

July 28, 2022

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By Graham Knibbs and Richard Guthrie

Arijit Biswas, Bipul Hawlader, and Stantec’s Dr. Rick Guthrie and Graham Knibbs discuss DebrisFlow Predictor at GeoCalgary’s Reflection on Resources

Debris flows are steep mountain hazards that may impact infrastructure, human life and environment considerable distance from their source. Runout simulation tools often require site-specific parameters that may be difficult to estimate or impractical to deploy at a regional scale. In contrast, models that do work regionally tend to provide limited data to the user. In this study, a relatively new agent-based simulation program called DebrisFlow Predictor was used to estimate the scour, deposition and volume of debris flows which occurred in a selected area of the Klanawa Watershed in Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

This program employs a group of autonomous subroutines, or agents, that act on a digital elevation model (DEM) using a set of probabilistic rules for scour, deposition, path selection, and spreading behavior. The advantages of this program are that it requires limited input, including DEM and user-defined initiation zones, and only modest computational power. 

  • Graham Knibbs

    As a geoscientist, Graham is a geohazard specialist who focuses his expertise on landslides. He identifies, assesses, analyzes, and reports terrain and geohazard information in support of capital projects, emergency management, and research.

    Contact Graham
  • Richard Guthrie

    Richard brings over 25 years of experience in geotechnical analysis and expert advice, gaining some impressive industry recognition along the way.

    Contact Richard
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