VHP Photo Glossary: Debris avalanche or volcanic landslide
Debris avalanches are moving masses of rock, soil and snow that occur when the flank of a mountain or volcano collapses and slides downslope. As the moving debris rushes down a volcano and into river valleys, it incorporates water, snow, trees, bridges, buildings, and anything else in the way. Debris avalanches may travel several kilometers before coming to rest, or they may transform into more water-rich lahars, which travel many tens of kilometers downstream.
Animation sequence(Quicktime®, 1.2 Mb)
A debris avalanche rushes down the side of a volcano to the valley floor. Many such debris avalanches transform into lahars and travel tens of kilometers from the volcano. Note horseshoe shaped crater on volcano's side, which is the scar created by the avalanche.
Case studies volcano debris avalanches (landslides)
Historical debris avalanches
- Mount St. Helens, Washington, 1980
- Otake volcano, Japan, 1984
- Huila Volcano, Colombia, 1994
- Casita Volcano, Nicaragua, 1999
Pre-historical debris avalanches
- Debris avalanches at Mount Rainier volcano, Washington
- Examples of volcanic landslide deposits from the United States and around the world