Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 139642, 16 pages
Research Article

A Mathematical Model for Forecasting the Dam-Break Flood Routing Process of a Landslide Dam

1State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
2Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface Process, CAS, Chengdu 610044, China

Received 10 December 2011; Accepted 6 February 2012

Academic Editor: Paulo Batista Gonçalves

Copyright © 2012 Fugang Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Once a landslide dam bursts, its reservoir discharges quickly in a flood which will cause catastrophic damage to life and property downstream. For a specific landslide dam, the peak flow rate and the evolution of downstream flood are influenced by the shape and size of the dike breach when dam-break occurs. According to the general nature of landslide dams and field observations of dike-breach development patterns, a dike-breach propagation mode has been determined. By combining an improved empirical equation with knowledge of the dike-breach propagation mode, a mathematical model for forecasting dam-break flood routing has been developed and is presented here. Sensitivity analysis was then carried out based on the computed results for peak flow rate and the flood evolution curve under different parameters. The computed results showed that the width coefficient and the depth coefficient had similar effects on the dam-break flood but that the impact of the depth coefficient was more significant than that of the width coefficient. Finally, the proposed model was used to calculate the flood evolution for the Tangjiashan landslide dam. The computed results showed that the error between the simulated result and the measured data was less than 5%.