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The role of dynamic rock fragmentation in rockslides

The runout of the largest landslides is frequently larger than predicted by simple mechanical models or by analogue experiments (such as the collapse of a granular column). Dynamic rock fragmentation of the biggest blocks during the collapse has been invoked as a possible lubrication mechanism, but this hypothesis has never been experimentally or numerically confirmed.

We developed a numerical code based on the classical methods used in granular dynamics to reproduce the collapse of a brittle material, while monitoring the fragmentation of rocks during the granular flow. Our simulations allow us to precisely quantity the effect of dynamic fragmentation on the avalanche runout.

Participants: V. Langlois, P. Allemand.
Collaborations: A. Quiquerez (U. Bourgogne).
References: Langlois et al., JGR Earth Surf. (2015).