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Modeling sediment movement and channel response to rainfall variability after a major earthquake

Xie, Jun; Wang, Ming; Liu, Kai; Coulthard, Tom J.


Jun Xie

Ming Wang

Kai Liu


© 2018 Elsevier B.V. The 2008 Wenchuan Ms 8.0 earthquake caused severe destruction in the mountainous areas of Sichuan Province, China. Landslips and mass movements led to substantial amounts of loose sediment accumulating in valleys that subsequently led to widespread riverbed aggradation. In addition to erosion and deposition hazards, this aggradation produced rivers in earthquake affected areas that were more susceptible to flash floods under extreme rainfall events. However, fluvial processes and sediment movement after a major earthquake, as well as the re-working of sediments in future events, are not well studied. In this paper, we investigate the response of sediment and river channel evolution due to different rainfall scenarios after the Wenchuan earthquake by using the CAESAR-Lisflood model. This is the first time that this landscape evolution model has been employed to explore material migration processes in a post-earthquake area, and to test its applicability to real landform changes in the studied catchment. The CAESAR-Lisflood model is well suited to simulate sediment movement, particularly the fluvial processes driven by severe rainfall after an earthquake. We calibrated the model parameters to the 2013 extreme rainfall event using high-resolution satellite images. Under rainfall scenarios of different intensity and frequency over a 10-yr period, landform evolution and sediment migration in the post-earthquake area were simulated. The results showed that the sediment yield could be significantly increased under enhanced and intensified rainfall scenarios compared to a normal rainfall scenario. These findings are of importance for the planning of post-earthquake rehabilitation and regional sustainable development, which considers risk prevention and mitigation.


Xie, J., Wang, M., Liu, K., & Coulthard, T. J. (2018). Modeling sediment movement and channel response to rainfall variability after a major earthquake. Geomorphology, 320, 18-32.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 28, 2018
Online Publication Date Aug 2, 2018
Publication Date Nov 1, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 9, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 3, 2019
Journal Geomorphology
Print ISSN 0169-555X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 320
Pages 18-32
Keywords Fluvial processes; CAESAR-Lisflood; Rainfall; Earthquake
Public URL
Publisher URL


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Copyright Statement
© 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

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