Abstract

Concentrated grain-fluid mixtures in rock avalanches, debris flows, and pyroclastic flows do not behave as simple materials with fixed rheologies. Instead, rheology evolves as mixture agitation, grain concentration, and fluid-pressure change during flow initiation, transit, and deposition. Throughout a flow, however, normal forces on planes parallel to the free upper surface approximately balance the weight of the superincumbent mixture, and the Coulomb friction rule describes bulk intergranular shear stresses on such planes. Pore-fluid pressure can temporarily or locally enhance mixture mobility by reducing Coulomb friction and transferring shear stress to the fluid phase. Initial conditions, boundary conditions, and grain comminution and sorting can influence pore-fluid pressures and cause variations in flow dynamics and deposits.

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