On 6 August 2010, a large (∼50 Mm3) debris avalanche occurred on the flank of Mount Meager in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. We studied the deposits to infer the morphodynamics of the landslide from initiation to emplacement. Structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry, based on oblique photos taken with a standard SLR camera during a low helicopter traverse, was used to create high-resolution orthophotos and base maps. Interpretation of the images and maps allowed us to recognize two main rheological phases in the debris avalanche. Just below the source area, in the valley of Capricorn Creek, the landslide separated into two phases, one water-rich and more mobile, and the other water-poor and less mobile. The water-rich phase spread quickly, achieved high superelevation on the valley sides, and left distal scattered deposits. The main water-poor phase moved more slowly, did not superelevate, and formed a thick continuous deposit (up to ∼30 m) on the valley floor. The water-poor flow deposit has structural features such as hummocks, brittle-ductile faults, and shear zones. Our study, based on a freshly emplaced deposit, advances understanding of large mass movements by showing that a single landslide can develop multiple rheology phases with different behaviors. Rheological evolution and separation of phases should always be taken into account to provide better risk assessment scenarios.
- Received 29 June 2016.
- Revision received 19 October 2016.
- Accepted 20 January 2017.
- © 2017 Geological Society of America