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See detailCan the collapse of a fly ash heap develop into an air-fluidized flow? - Reanalysis of the Jupille accident (1961)
Stilmant, Frédéric ULg; Pirotton, Michel ULg; Archambeau, Pierre ULg et al

in Geomorphology (2014)

A fly ash heap collapse occurred in Jupille (Liege, Belgium) in 1961. The subsequent flow of fly ash reached a surprisingly long runout and had catastrophic consequences. Its unprecedented degree of ... [more ▼]

A fly ash heap collapse occurred in Jupille (Liege, Belgium) in 1961. The subsequent flow of fly ash reached a surprisingly long runout and had catastrophic consequences. Its unprecedented degree of fluidization attracted scientific attention. As drillings and direct observations revealed no water-saturated zone at the base of the deposits, scientists assumed an air-fluidization mechanism, which appeared consistent with the properties of the material. In this paper, the air-fluidization assumption is tested based on two-dimensional numerical simulations. The numerical model has been developed so as to focus on the most prominent processes governing the flow, with parameters constrained by their physical interpretation. Results are compared to accurate field observations and are presented for different stages in the model enhancement, so as to provide a base for a discussion of the relative influence of pore pressure dissipation and pore pressure generation. These results show that the apparently high diffusion coefficient that characterizes the dissipation of air pore pressures is in fact sufficiently low for an important degree of fluidization to be maintained during a flow of hundreds of meters. [less ▲]

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See detailThe evaluation of unmanned aerial systems-based photogrammetry and terrestrial laser scanning to generate DEMs of agricultural watersheds
Ouedraogo, Mohamar ULg; Degré, Aurore ULg; Debouche, Charles ULg et al

in Geomorphology (2014)

Agricultural watersheds tend to be places of intensive farming activities that permanently modify their microtopography. The surface characteristics of the soil vary depending on the crops that are ... [more ▼]

Agricultural watersheds tend to be places of intensive farming activities that permanently modify their microtopography. The surface characteristics of the soil vary depending on the crops that are cultivated in these areas. Agricultural soil microtopography plays an important role in the quantification of runoff and sediment transport because the presence of crops, crop residues, furrows and ridges may impact the direction of water flow. To better assess such phenomena, 3-D reconstructions of high-resolution agricultural watershed topography is essential. Fine-resolution topographic data collection technologies can be used to discern highly detailed elevation variability in these areas. Knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of existing technologies used for data collection on agricultural watersheds may be helpful in choosing an appropriate technology. This study assesses the suitability of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and unmanned aerial system (UAS) photogrammetry for collecting the fine-resolution topographic data required to generate accurate, high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) in a small watershed area (12 ha). Because of farming activity, 14 TLS scans (≈ 25 points m− 2) were collected without using high-definition surveying (HDS) targets, which are generally used to mesh adjacent scans. To evaluate the accuracy of the DEMs created from the TLS scan data, 1,098 ground control points (GCPs) were surveyed using a real time kinematic global positioning system (RTK-GPS). Linear regressions were then applied to each DEM to remove vertical errors from the TLS point elevations, errors caused by the non-perpendicularity of the scanner’s vertical axis to the local horizontal plane, and errors correlated with the distance to the scanner’s position. The scans were then meshed to generate a DEMTLS with a 1 × 1 m spatial resolution. The Agisoft PhotoScan and MicMac software packages were used to process the aerial photographs and generate a DEMPSC (Agisoft PhotoScan) and DEMMCM (MicMac), respectively, with spatial resolutions of 1 × 1 m. Comparing the DEMs with the 1,098 GCPs showed that the DEMTLS was the most accurate data product, with a root mean square error (RMSE) of 4.5 cm, followed by the DEMMCM and the DEMPSC, which had RMSE values of 9.0 and 13.9 cm, respectively. The DEMPSC had absolute errors along the border of the study area that ranged from 15.0 to 52.0 cm, indicating the presence of systematic errors. Although the derived DEMMCM was accurate, an error analysis along a transect showed that the errors in the DEMMCM data tended to increase in areas of lower elevation. Compared with TLS, UAS is a promising tool for data collection because of its flexibility and low operational cost. However, improvements are needed in the photogrammetric processing of the aerial photographs to remove non-linear distortions. [less ▲]

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See detailOn different types of adjustment usable to calculate the parameters of the stream power law
Demoulin, Alain ULg; Beckers, Arnaud ULg; Bovy, Benoît ULg

in Geomorphology (2012), 138(1), 203-208

Model parameterization through adjustment to field data is a crucial step in the modeling and the understanding of the drainage network response to tectonic or climatic perturbations. Using as a test case ... [more ▼]

Model parameterization through adjustment to field data is a crucial step in the modeling and the understanding of the drainage network response to tectonic or climatic perturbations. Using as a test case a data set of 18 knickpoints that materialize the migration of a 0.7-Ma-old erosion wave in the Ourthe catchment of northern Ardennes (western Europe), we explore the impact of various data fitting on the calibration of the stream power model of river incision, from which a simple knickpoint celerity equation is derived. Our results show that statistical least squares adjustments (or misfit functions) based either on the streamwise distances between observed and modeled knickpoint positions at time t or on differences between observed and modeled time at the actual knickpoint locations yield significantly different values for the m and K parameters of the model. As there is no physical reason to prefer one of these approaches, an intermediate least-rectangles adjustment might at first glance appear as the best compromise. However, the statistics of the analysis of 200 sets of synthetic knickpoints generated in the Ourthe catchment indicate that the timebased adjustment is the most capable of getting close to the true parameter values. Moreover, this fitting method leads in all cases to an m value lower than that obtained from the classical distance adjustment (for example, 0.75 against 0.86 for the real case of the Ourthe catchment), corresponding to an increase in the non-linear character of the dependence of knickpoint celerity on discharge [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term bedload mobility in gravel-bed rivers using iron slag as a tracer
Houbrechts, Geoffrey ULg; Levecq, Yannick ULg; Vanderheyden, Vincent ULg et al

in Geomorphology (2011), 126

Bedload dispersion is evaluated in gravel-bed rivers using slag elements from ironworks established along rivers in the Ardenne region, between the fourteenth and the nineteenth centuries. Large ... [more ▼]

Bedload dispersion is evaluated in gravel-bed rivers using slag elements from ironworks established along rivers in the Ardenne region, between the fourteenth and the nineteenth centuries. Large quantities of slag were dumped close to these rivers or even directly into the channels. For centuries, slag elements were dispersed in the bedload and transported by floods of varying importance. Consequently, slag may be considered as a reliable tracer to analyze bedload dispersion over several centuries. The size of slag elements was studied along 16 Ardenne rivers. The longitudinal size trend of the largest slag particles allows the effective competence of these rivers to be determined (between 19 and 129 mm for rivers where specific stream power for the bankfull discharge ranges between 20 and 134 W/m²). A direct relationship doesn’t exist between these two parameters as the size of slag elements must be considered with regard to the D50 of the bed. Selective transport was analyzed directly downstream of the input sites. The sorting distance varies from river to river and depends on the velocity of the coarse elements introduced into the river since the inception of the iron industry. Downstream of two metallurgic sites, the slag propagation fronts were located. As the periods of activity at these sites are known from historical studies, the virtual velocity of bedload movement in these rivers was estimated to be 2-4 km/century. [less ▲]

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See detailBasin and river profile morphometry: A new index with a high potential for relative dating of tectonic uplift
Demoulin, Alain ULg

in Geomorphology (2011), 126

Geomorphometry may be a powerful tool to describe the characteristics of the landscape's response to tectonic signals, but the meaning of morphometric indices is often obscured by the interplay between ... [more ▼]

Geomorphometry may be a powerful tool to describe the characteristics of the landscape's response to tectonic signals, but the meaning of morphometric indices is often obscured by the interplay between the many variables controlling the geomorphological evolution. Moreover, although the so-called hypsometric integral refers to the basin scale, most indices are generally derived from the river long profiles and thus focus mainly on the short-term response of a drainage network to base level change, providing limited information in regions of older and/or moderate uplift. Here, using the Rhenish shield (western Europe), an area of moderate Quaternary uplift, as a test case, I attempt to build an index yielding a comprehensive view of the stage attained by the landscape's response and, indirectly, an evaluation of the timing of the triggering base level change. This index, called R1, is a ratio of differences between the three integrals linked respectively to the classical basin's hypsometric curve, to the main river's long profile, and at the intermediate level, to a ‘drainage network's hypsometric curve’. While its ratio form minimizes the lithological effect on R1, this index is strongly correlated with basin size (regional correlation coefficients are in the range 0.88–0.93), reflecting the way an erosion wave propagates from the outlet of a basin toward its headwaters. Therefore, it is not directly usable as a proxy for relative uplift age. However, one can show that the relation between R1 and basin size is theoretically expected to change with time. Following uplift, the slope Sr of the linear relation R1=f (lnA) first increases rapidly but briefly, then it gradually diminishes over several million years. This is fully confirmed by the analysis of R1 and Sr in the study area. Once its initial increase is completed (assumedly in a few ten thousand years), Sr appears to be a reliable indicator of relative uplift (or any other cause of base level lowering) age. [less ▲]

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See detailCombining spatial data in landslide reactivation susceptibility mapping: A likelihood ratio-based approach in W Belgium
Dewitte, Olivier ULg; Chung, Chang-Jo; Cornet, Yves ULg et al

in Geomorphology (2010)

A key issue in landslide susceptibility mapping concerns the relevance of the spatial data combination used in the prediction. Various combinations of high-resolution predictor variables and possibilities ... [more ▼]

A key issue in landslide susceptibility mapping concerns the relevance of the spatial data combination used in the prediction. Various combinations of high-resolution predictor variables and possibilities of selecting them from a larger dataset are analysed. The scarp reactivation of several landslides in a hilly region of W Belgium is investigated at the pixel scale. The usceptibility modelling uses the reactivated scarp segments as the dependent variable and 13 factors at a 2 m-resolution related to topography, hydrology, land use and lithology as potential independent variables. The modelling uses a likelihood ratio approach based on the comparison, for each independent variable, between two empirical distribution functions (EDFs), respectively for the reactivated and non-reactivated areas. It uses these EDFs as favourability values to build membership values and combine them with a fuzzy Gamma operator. Five different data combinations are tested and compared by analysing the prediction-rate curves obtained by cross-validation. The geomorphological value of the resulting susceptibility maps is also discussed. This research shows relevant results for predicting the susceptibility to scarp reactivation. We highlight the need for testing several data combinations and underline that combining uantitative criteria with expert opinion is an asset for reliable predictions. [less ▲]

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See detailAn automated method to extract fluvial terraces from digital elevation models: The Vesdre valley, a case study in eastern Belgium
Demoulin, Alain ULg; Bovy, Benoît ULg; Rixhon, Gilles ULg et al

in Geomorphology (2007), 91(1-2), 51-64

Fluvial terraces are a powerful tool for unraveling the combined tectonic and climatic conditions that controlled, directly or indirectly, the Quaternary incision of rivers. Terrace long profiles are ... [more ▼]

Fluvial terraces are a powerful tool for unraveling the combined tectonic and climatic conditions that controlled, directly or indirectly, the Quaternary incision of rivers. Terrace long profiles are usually retrieved from sparse traces of ancient floodplains preserved in the present topography. However, when these traces classically collected from topographic maps, aerial photographs, and field analyses are too few, the inferred profiles may be questionable. Yet the now available high quality and high resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) offer an opportunity to increase greatly the quantity of information usable to reconstruct terrace profiles. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop a new DEM-based method of terrace recognition in order to create a larger database and better constrain the profile reconstruction. Moreover, particular procedures of image and numerical processing were defined to fully automate the analysis. Basically, our method relies on the production of bivariate scatter plots depicting the relation between slope and relative altitude (i.e., the altitude above the current alluvial plain) for all pixels of successive sections of the valley. For each scatter plot, the curve of the lowest slope values observed at every relative altitude is smoothed and its minima are assumed to locate the altitudes of the "terrace" elements preserved in the section. We successfully tested this method in the Vesdre valley, incised in the NE Ardenne massif (E Belgium), notably identifying fault deformation of the profiles. The main advantages of our approach are its objectivity, exhaustiveness, and rapidity, allowing fast and coherent analysis of many rivers over extended regions. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailMapping landslide susceptibility from small datasets: A case study in the Pays de Herve (E Belgium)
Demoulin, Alain ULg; Chung, C. J.

in Geomorphology (2007), 89

A landslide susceptibility map is proposed for the Pays de Herve (E Belgium), where large landslides affect Cretaceous clay outcrop areas. Based on a Bayesian approach, this GIS-supported probabilistic ... [more ▼]

A landslide susceptibility map is proposed for the Pays de Herve (E Belgium), where large landslides affect Cretaceous clay outcrop areas. Based on a Bayesian approach, this GIS-supported probabilistic map identifies the areas most susceptible to deep landslides. The database is comprised of the source areas of ten pre-existing landslides (i.e. a sample of 154 grid cells) and of six environmental data layers, namely lithology, proximity to active faults, slope angle and aspect, elevation and distance to the nearest valley-floor. A 30-m-resolution DEM from the Belgian National Geographical Institute is used for the analysis. Owing to the small size of the sample, a special cross-validation procedure of the susceptibility map is performed, which uses in an iterative way each of the landslides to test the predictive power of the map derived from the other landslides. Four different sets of variables are used to produce four susceptibility maps, whose prediction curves are compared. While the prediction rates associated with the models not involving the “proximity to active fault” criterion are comparable to those of the models considering this variable, strong weaknesses inherent in the fault data on which the latter rely suggest that the final susceptibility map should be based on a model that excludes any reference to fault. This highlights the difference between a triggering factor and determining factors, and in the same time broadens the scope of the produced map. A single reactivated slide is also used to test the possibility of predicting future reactivation of existing landslides in the area. Finally, the need for geomorphological control over the mathematical treatment is underlined in order to obtain realistic prediction maps. [less ▲]

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See detailCritical specific stream power in gravel-bed rivers
Petit, François ULg; Gob, Frédéric ULg; Houbrechts, Geoffrey ULg et al

in Geomorphology (2005), 69(1-4), 92-101

Experiments with marked pebbles were carried out on different sized rivers of the Belgian Ardenne (catchment areas varying from less than I km(2) to 2700 km(2)). Specific stream power required to cause ... [more ▼]

Experiments with marked pebbles were carried out on different sized rivers of the Belgian Ardenne (catchment areas varying from less than I km(2) to 2700 km(2)). Specific stream power required to cause bedload movement was evaluated and critical values were obtained. Three types of relationship between critical specific stream power (omega(0)) and grain size (D) were established. The values for coo in the largest river (the Ourthe) were the lowest and were close to the values obtained for mountainous rivers carrying large boulders. In medium sized rivers (catchment area between 40 and 500 km(2)), the critical unit stream power was higher. It is likely that it is due to the bedform's greater resistance. This resistance would use up some of the energy that can cause movement and transport of bedload. The amount of resistance of the bedform can be expressed as bedform shear stress (tau ''), determined by the relationship between grain shear stress (tau'-that determines movement and transport of the bedload) and the total shear stress (tau). This ratio varies between 0.4 and 0.5 in the medium sized rivers, compared to 0.7 in the Ourthe. In headwater streams (less than 20 km(2)), there is greater loss of energy due to bedform resistance (tau'/tau < 0.3). Critical specific stream power is higher in this third type of river than in the other two. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailTesting the tectonic significance of some parameters of longitudinal river profiles: the case of the Ardenne (Belgium, NW Europe)
Demoulin, Alain ULg

in Geomorphology (1998), 24

The longitudinal profiles of 24 rivers of 3rd to 5th order have been analyzed in order to recognize the regional tectonic differentiation pattern of the Ardenne, a Paleozoic massif of NW Europe. Data ... [more ▼]

The longitudinal profiles of 24 rivers of 3rd to 5th order have been analyzed in order to recognize the regional tectonic differentiation pattern of the Ardenne, a Paleozoic massif of NW Europe. Data collected exclusively from 1/25,000 topographic maps were used to define a set of parameters related to the geometry of the profile and proxies for river bedload and drainage area. Validation of the proxy defined for the bedloadrdischarge ratio demonstrates its potential use for inter-river comparison based on its value at the river mouth; it is however inadequate to estimate the ratio changes along a given stream course. This proxy has been computed to estimate the portion accounted for by hydrodynamic factors in the river bed profiling. Thus, outliers to the correlation function linking it to the river bed gradient have been considered as undergoing other influences, principally of lithologic or tectonic origin. Most indicative of the computed profile parameters are those related to the concavity of the profile. Four more or less regional longitudinal profile types are recognized which are partly determined by differential tectonic movement. The combined analysis of all the parameters confirms the current uplift of the NE Ardenne and points to a subsidence of the Namur area with respect to its SW and SE surroundings. Whether periglacial or tectonic in origin, the Upper Pleistocene lowering of a local base-level has also been identified in the Famenne. Another conclusion of this study is that in order to evidence tectonic influences and to avoid any misinterpretation in a region of complex geologic and geomorphic history and moderate tectonic activity, it is essential to consider a number of parameters and to consider their significance within the framework of detailed geologic setting and morphogenetic history. [less ▲]

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