Failure and flow on a 35° slope: Causes and three‐dimensional observations

Julian A. Dowdeswell*, Henry F. Lamb, John Lewin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A well‐vegetated 35° slope in upland Wales, U.K., failed during a winter flood event. Failure was linked to high magnitude rainfall and diversion of flowing water onto the slope. Mass movement began with gravitational slumping, which was transformed rapidly into a debris flow. Three‐dimensional characteristics of the active debris flow are reconstructed from mudlines on 58 trees still standing in the flow path. Mudline formation only on the up‐flow side of trees indicates the relatively high viscosity of the debris flow. Mudline height is a function of the maximum thickness and velocity of the flow at any tree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-746
Number of pages10
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 1988


  • Debris flow
  • Floods
  • High magnitude rainfall
  • Slope failure Slump


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