The landslide stage of the Hsiaolin catastrophe: Simulation and validation

C. Y. Kuo, Y. C. Tai, C. C. Chen, K. J. Chang, A. Y. Siau, J. J. Dong, R. H. Han, T. Shimamoto, C. T. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Typhoon Morakot struck southern Taiwan in the summer of 2009, causing the most severe flooding since the 1950s. In the early morning of August 9, rainfall triggered the Hsiaolin landslide, and the resulting debris avalanche covered the township of Hsiaolin Village, Kaohsiung. Around five hundred people were buried alive. Reconstruction of the runout of the debris avalanche would increase understanding of the large-scale avalanches for future hazard mitigation purposes. Simulation of the debris avalanche runout can provide valuable information for this purpose. A new continuum shallow-water model is applied to flow over general topography. The Coulomb friction law is adopted; the friction coefficient is initially determined by high pressure rotary-shearing tests and subsequently fine-tuned by an iterative procedure to minimize the difference between the simulation and the measurement. The friction coefficients measured by laboratory tests are found to be in reasonable agreement with the best-fit result of the simulation. In addition, Voellmy rheology is applied, but it is found that the role of the fluid viscous drag is insignificant. The simulation result in the village area is further corroborated by near-surface magnetic surveys. These indicate that the northern part of the village is dislocated, while the artifact structures of the southern part are buried near their original locations. By comparing the landslide front and the flow direction of the simulation, we are able to confirm, as also described by survivors, that the landslide swept the northern part of the village into the Cishan River, while the southern part was flooded subsequently by the debris from a dam breach about 20 min after the landslide.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberF04007
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'The landslide stage of the Hsiaolin catastrophe: Simulation and validation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this