Debris flow on the Aconcagua in Argentina
Mass movements are hazardous events that may cause up to tens of thousands of fatalities. The animation below shows a debris flow on the Aconcagua in Argentina. These types of mass movements are often triggered by high volume, high intensity rainfall events or by earthquakes. Large boulders are transported at high speeds in a dense mixture of water and mud, and produce large impact forces when impacting infrastructure. It is therefore difficult to protect infrastructure from such events.
The frequency and magnitude of mass movements are likely to increase in the near-future as a result of climate change, by an increase in extreme rainfall events, a prolonged snow-free season and disappearing permafrost that would otherwise stabilize soils and rock. We aim at understanding the processes and triggering factors of these mass wasting processes in order to mitigate damage and reduce fatalities, through a combination of fieldwork and scaled laboratory experiments.