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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Functions of Chisan dams in large-scale granular mass-flow experiments on Sakurajima volcano pumiceous clasts

Published Date
Volume 19, Issue 6pp 493–500

Original Article
DOI: 10.1007/s10310-014

Cite this article as: 
Okada, Y. J For Res (2014) 19: 493. doi:10.1007/s10310-014-0443-4


We investigated the fundamental behaviour of Chisan (check) dams in response to the presence or absence of impounded sediment with different levels of saturation. Large-scale model flume experiments were conducted by use of a model Chisan dam that had been backfilled with pumiceous clasts taken from the Sakurajima volcano in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan. In these experiments, the miniature dam was situated midway down the flume under different backfill sediment conditions and the basal pore-fluid pressure, normal flow depth, and impact load of the granular mass were carefully monitored. Saturated sediment with a volume of 0.6 m3 was released along the slope of the flume segment at 30° and excess pore-fluid pressure was generated, corresponding to a sediment velocity of approximately 4.8 m s−1. Direct collision of the sediment with the Chisan dam meant the peak impact loads of granular mass against the back surface of the dam exceeded 157 N in experiments without backfill sediment but were as low as 32.1 N in experiments with sediment. Accordingly, placing the backfill sediment substantially reduced peak impact loads. The sediment captured by the Chisan dams was also calculated. For experiments using saturated backfill sediment, the dam captured only 35 % of the material, indicating that most of the granular mass passed over the dam. However, in experiments without backfill sediment or with unsaturated backfill sediment, over 90 % was captured. Although Chisan dams with unsaturated backfill sediment lacked pocket space, almost equivalent granular masses were trapped in these experiments. On the basis of these results, we suggest that Chisan dams with unsaturated backfill sediment could effectively counter debris flow, reducing sediment loads along the streams draining Sakurajima volcano.


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