Research Topic

Rock Avalanches

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About this Research Topic

Rock avalanches implying volumes of 1 km3 and more have major impacts on the landscapes regarding the breakaway area, the avalanche deposits, lakes formed by the avalanche deposits and outbursts of such lakes. Key questions of rock avalanches include the triggering mechanism, the pre-existing ...

Rock avalanches implying volumes of 1 km3 and more have major impacts on the landscapes regarding the breakaway area, the avalanche deposits, lakes formed by the avalanche deposits and outbursts of such lakes. Key questions of rock avalanches include the triggering mechanism, the pre-existing structure of the rock mass of the source area, the mechanisms of transport, the internal deformation and structure of the rock fall deposit, its surface topography as well as the geometry of its base and the rock types beneath and at its base. Rock avalanches may dam rivers and create large lakes. The overflow and outburst of such lakes may be catastrophic in nature and represent a paramount natural risk.

This Research Topics aims to review the state of knowledge on large rock avalanches and their impact on ensuing processes of landscape evolution. Topics to be addressed in this Research Topic include:

• Triggering mechanisms of rock avalanches;
• Mechanisms explaining long run outs of rock avalanches;
• Internal structure and kinematics of rock avalanches regarding turbulent flow or shattering of rocks at various scales;
• Surface topography of rock avalanche deposits and their interpretation regarding the flow pattern of the rock avalanche;
• Lakes dammed by rock avalanches and their overflow and outburst as hyperconcentrated flows or debris flows; and
• Case studies on any of these features.

Addressing these topics requires a multidisciplinary approach that covers rock mechanics, structural geology, sedimentology and geomorphology. We look forward to seeing submissions covering the different aspects rock avalanches from natural examples, but welcome results from numerical and analog experiments as well.

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Cover image photo by VBS


Keywords: rock avalanche, run out, internal structure, rock avalanche deposits, surface topography, mechanics, triggering conditions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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