Hazards SEES Type 1: Predicting Landslide Runout and Granular Flow Hazard: Enhanced-g Centrifuge Experiments, Contact Dynamics Model Development and Theoretical Study

Lead PI: Timothy J Crone , , Dr. Colin P. Stark, Meredith Reitz, Eitan Grinspun, Hoe Ling

Unit Affiliation: Marine and Polar Geophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

August 2013 - August 2015
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The broad goal of this project is to address the unpredictability of landslides and debris flows and to boost societal resilience and sustainability in the face of growing landslide hazard and risk across the world. Landslides and debris flows are frequent agents of natural disaster and they pose a particular challenge because their timing, location, size and impact on infrastructure and people are notoriously hard to predict. Such unpredictability undermines society's ability to make accurate risk assessments, to frame safe design principles or to enforce sound engineering codes. This project is being tackled by an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists, engineers and geoscientists working together on laboratory experiments and numerical simulations. The research is framed around enhanced-g experiments conducted on a state-of-the-art geotechnical centrifuge. These experiments are designed to measure the forces driving and resisting landslide motion across a range of simulated scales, to guide development of numerical algorithms to simulate such motion, and to help in the framing of continuum models that can be applied simply to real world problems. The experimental results are to be disseminated as part of a new community initiative for establishing best practices for the sharing of laboratory data. Cutting-edge, open-source, 3d contact dynamics code, tailored to handling eroding granular flows and their impact on the environment, provides a valuable new cross-cutting resource. The project fosters new international collaboration with overseas engineers and geoscientists engaged in both experimental studies and in field assessments of granular flow hazards following recent typhoon and earthquake disasters. Mentoring is provided for two early career researchers and a graduate student in a project of unusual disciplinary breadth.