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Debris-flow activity and snow avalanches in a steep watershed of the Valais Alps (Switzerland): Dendrogeomorphic event reconstruction and identification of triggers
Szymczak S, Bollschweiler M, Stoffel M, Dikau R
Type of Publication:
Reviewed Journal Article
Geomorphology, 2010, V116, N1-2, MAR 15, pp 107-114 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.10.012.
Debris flows and snow avalanches are common processes in the headwaters of steep watersheds worldwide. In forested areas, dendrogeomorphic analyses of trees affected by debris flows and snow avalanches have regularly been used to date past events. Previous studies have, however, almost never focused on both processes at once, as snow avalanche impacts cannot easily be distinguished from debris-flow scars. In a similar way, tree-ring studies have often been limited to conifers, and sites colonized with broad-leaved forests have been widely disregarded. We report on a case from the Valais Alps (Switzerland) where past debris-flow and snow avalanche activity was dated with intraseasonal precision using different broad-leaved and conifer trees. In total, the analysis of 171 cores, 34 wedges, and 11 crosssections from 93 trees allowed identification of 20 debris-flow and 3 snow avalanche events between A.D. 1930 and 2008. Results also indicate that some of the events would have been missed without the sampling of broad-leaved trees.
1.5 Ocean/Fresh Water Systems
Geomorphology , Hydrology , Cryology / Glaciology , Forestry
swiss alps; shallow landslides; rainfall intensity; duration control; tangential rows; larix decidua; national park; resin ducts; rockfall; cone
debris flow; snow avalanche; dendrogeomorphology; seasonality; conifers; broad leaved trees; triggering
M Stoffel, Univ Bern, Inst Geol Sci, Lab Dendrogeomorphol, Dendrolab Ch, Baltzerstr 1 3, CH 3012 Bern, Switzerland ; Research Addresses: Michelle Bollschweiler, Markus Stoffel: Univ Bern, Inst Geol Sci, Lab Dendrogeomorphol, Dendrolab Ch, CH 3012 Bern, Switzerland; Univ Geneva, Climat Change & Climate Impacts Grp, CH 1227 Carouge, Switzerland; Sonja Szymczak, Richard Dikau: Univ Bonn, Inst Geog, D 53115 Bonn, Germany ; Email: Markus.firstname.lastname@example.org
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