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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Debris flow prediction models: integrating data from an environmental sensor network

Published: 1 March 2011

Funding source: Complexity studentship (4 years)

Supervisor: Prof. Jane K. Hart (Geog) and Kirk Martinez (ECS)

Funding source: Complexity studentship (4 years)

Debris flows typically comprise rock and sediment that move en mass during periods of intense rainfall or snow melt. These can be very destructive causing severe loss of life and damage to property. So it is vital to monitor mass movement processes so that we can produce hazard warnings. However, at the time is vital to investigate the fundamental properties of sediment behaviour in order to be able to make hazard predictions. It has been suggested this events will increase in both magnitude and frequency associated with climate change.

An environmental sensor network has been up in a debris flow in Los Laureles Canyon, Tijuana, Mexico to monitor real-time mass movement processes. This records data at a low sampling rate until a rainfall event when the sampling rate increases.

The aim of this project is to investigate current debris flow prediction models, and combine these models with the real in situ data provided from the sensor networks.

Hart, J. K. and Martinez, K. (2006). Environmental Sensor Networks: A revolution in the Earth System Science? Earth Science Reviews, 78, 177-191.

The research student will join Southampton's Earth Surface Dynamics group. The school maintains high quality Glaciology Field Equipment for research on glacial processes. This includes a TOPCON differential GPS, Kärcher HDS1000DE hot water drill, borehole camera, borehole sediment sampler and ice auger. The petrographic microscope for till thin section analysis is housed in the Palaeoenvironments Laboratory. Full training in all necessary techniques will be given.

Candidates must have or expect to gain a first or strong upper second class degree, in an appropriate discipline, not necessarily Geography. Details on how to apply are available from Julie Drewitt, Graduate School Administrator, School of Geography University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, Telephone 023 8059 2216, email . Informal enquiries may be made to Prof Jane Hart (email ).

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