New Paper Published : Primary and potential secondary risks of landslide outburst floods

Outburst floods triggered by breaching of landslide dams may cause severe loss of life and property downstream. Accurate identification and assessment of such floods, especially when leading to secondary impacts, are critical. In 2018, the Baige landslide in the Tibetan Plateau twice blocked the Jinsha River, eventually resulting in a severe outburst flood. The Baige landslide remains active, and it is possible that a breach happens again. Based on numerical simulation using a hydrodynamic model, remote sensing, and field investigation, we reproduce the outburst flood process and assess the hazard associated with future floods. The results show that the hydrodynamic model could accurately simulate the outburst flood process, with overall accuracy and Kappa accuracy for the flood extent of 0.956 and 0.911. Three future dam break scenarios were considered with landslide dams of heights 30 m, 35 m, and 51 m. The potential storage capacity and length of upstream flow back up in the upstream valley for these heights were 142 × 106m3/32 km, 182 × 106m3/40 km, and 331 × 106m3/50 km. Failure of these three dams leads to maximum inundation extents of 0.18 km2, 0.34 km2, and 0.43 km2, which is significant out-of-bank flow and serious infrastructure impacts. These results demonstrate the seriousness of secondary hazards associated with this region. A copy is freely available here.