Rare flash floods and debris flows in southern Germany

Rare flash floods and debris flows in southern Germany Flash floods and debris flows are iconic hazards in mountainous regions with steep relief, high rainfall intensities, rapid snowmelt events, and abundant sediments. The cuesta landscapes of southern Germany hardly come to mind when dealing with such hazards. A series of heavy rainstorms dumping up to 140 mm in 2 h caused destructive flash floods and debris flows in May 2016. The most severe damage occurred in the Braunsbach municipality, which was partly buried by 42,000 m3 of boulders, gravel, mud, and anthropogenic debris from the small catchment of Orlacher Bach (~6 km2). We analysed this event by combining rainfall patterns, geological conditions, and geomorphic impacts to estimate an average sediment yield of 14,000 t/km2 that mostly (~95%) came from some 50 riparian landslides and channel-bed incision of ~2 m. This specific sediment yield ranks among the top 20% globally, while the intensity-duration curve of the rainstorm is similarly in the upper percentile range of storms that had triggered landslides. Compared to similar-sized catchments in the greater region hit by the rainstorms, we find that the Orlacher Bach is above the 95th percentile in terms of steepness, storm-rainfall intensity, and topographic curvatures. The flash flood transported a sediment volume equal to as much as 20–40% of the Pleistocene sediment volume stored in the Orlacher Bach fan, and may have had several predecessors in the Holocene. River control structures from 1903 and records of a debris flow in the 1920s in a nearby catchment indicate that the local inhabitants may have been aware of the debris-flow hazards earlier. Such recurring and destructive events elude flood-hazard appraisals in humid landscapes of gentle relief, and broaden mechanistic views of how landslides and debris flows contribute to shaping small and deeply cut tributaries in the southern Germany cuesta landscape. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Science of the Total Environment Elsevier

Loading next page...
 
/lp/elsevier/rare-flash-floods-and-debris-flows-in-southern-germany-JSOKIPLtei
Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN
0048-9697
eISSN
1879-1026
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.172
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Flash floods and debris flows are iconic hazards in mountainous regions with steep relief, high rainfall intensities, rapid snowmelt events, and abundant sediments. The cuesta landscapes of southern Germany hardly come to mind when dealing with such hazards. A series of heavy rainstorms dumping up to 140 mm in 2 h caused destructive flash floods and debris flows in May 2016. The most severe damage occurred in the Braunsbach municipality, which was partly buried by 42,000 m3 of boulders, gravel, mud, and anthropogenic debris from the small catchment of Orlacher Bach (~6 km2). We analysed this event by combining rainfall patterns, geological conditions, and geomorphic impacts to estimate an average sediment yield of 14,000 t/km2 that mostly (~95%) came from some 50 riparian landslides and channel-bed incision of ~2 m. This specific sediment yield ranks among the top 20% globally, while the intensity-duration curve of the rainstorm is similarly in the upper percentile range of storms that had triggered landslides. Compared to similar-sized catchments in the greater region hit by the rainstorms, we find that the Orlacher Bach is above the 95th percentile in terms of steepness, storm-rainfall intensity, and topographic curvatures. The flash flood transported a sediment volume equal to as much as 20–40% of the Pleistocene sediment volume stored in the Orlacher Bach fan, and may have had several predecessors in the Holocene. River control structures from 1903 and records of a debris flow in the 1920s in a nearby catchment indicate that the local inhabitants may have been aware of the debris-flow hazards earlier. Such recurring and destructive events elude flood-hazard appraisals in humid landscapes of gentle relief, and broaden mechanistic views of how landslides and debris flows contribute to shaping small and deeply cut tributaries in the southern Germany cuesta landscape.

Journal

Science of the Total EnvironmentElsevier

Published: Jun 1, 2018

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off