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Evaluating Titan2D mass-flow model using the 1963 Little Tahoma Peak avalanches, Mount Rainier, Washington

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Author(s): M F. Sheridan, A J. Stinton, A Patra, E B. Pitman, A Bauer, C C. Nichita

Document Type:
Publisher: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Published Year: 2005
Volume: 139
Number: 1-2
Pages: 89 to 102
DOI Identifier: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2004.06.011
ISBN Identifier:
Keywords: GIS TIN Mass-flow model Mount Rainier Avalanche Adaptive gridding

The Titan2D geophysical mass-flow model is evaluated by comparing its simulation results and those obtained from another flow model, FLOW3D, with published data on the 1963 Little Tahoma Peak avalanches on Mount Rainier, Washington. The avalanches, totaling approximately 10 x 106 m3 of broken lava blocks and other debris, traveled 6.8 km horizontally and fell 1.8 km vertically (H/L=0.246). Velocities calculated from runup range from 24 to 42 m/s and may have been as high as 130 m/s while the avalanches passed over Emmons Glacier.

Titan2D is a code for an incompressible Coulomb continuum; it is a depth-averaged, 'shallow-water', granular-flow model. The conservation equations for mass and momentum are solved with a Coulomb-type friction term at the basal interface. The governing equations are solved on multiple processors using a parallel, adaptive mesh, Godunov scheme. Adaptive gridding dynamically concentrates computing power in regions of special interest; mesh refinement and coarsening key on the perimeter of the moving avalanche. The model flow initiates as a pile defined as an ellipsoid by a height (z) and an elliptical base defined by radii in the x and y planes. Flow parameters are the internal friction angle and bed friction angle. Results from the model are similar in terms of velocity history, lateral spreading, location of runup areas, and final distribution of the Little Tahoma Peak deposit. The avalanches passed over the Emmons Glacier along their upper flow paths, but lower in the valley they traversed stream gravels and glacial outwash deposits. This presents difficulty in assigning an appropriate bed friction angle for the entire deposit. Incorporation of variable bed friction angles into the model using GIS will help to resolve this issue.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Sheridan and others (2005) or (Sheridan et al., 2005)

References Citation:
Sheridan, M.F., A.J. Stinton, A. Patra, E.B. Pitman, A. Bauer, and C.C. Nichita, 2005, Evaluating Titan2D mass-flow model using the 1963 Little Tahoma Peak avalanches, Mount Rainier, Washington: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Vol. 139, No. 1-2, pp. 89-102, doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2004.06.011.