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Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana

versión impresa ISSN 1405-3322


BARTALI, Roberto; SAROCCHI, Damiano; NAHMAD-MOLINARI, Yuri  y  RODRIGUEZ-SEDANO, Luis Angel. Study of geological granular flows by means of the multisensor GRANFLOW-SIM simulator. Bol. Soc. Geol. Mex [online]. 2012, vol.64, n.3, pp.265-275. ISSN 1405-3322.

Avalanches and debris flows caused by catastrophic events such as volcanic eruptions can be seen as huge granular flows. Due to the impossibility ofprediction and danger of such events, given the high temperatures and the moving masses involved, their study is limited to remote observation and measurement of the deposits generated. The observation of these phenomena from the beginning is almost impossible because the start and development are extremely short and impossible to predict accurately; furthermore, it has to be done from a considerable distance. The study of deposited material provides important information, but it is still an indirect method to infer the dynamics of a debris flow. This article describes the characteristics of the device GRANFLOW-SIM (Granular Flows Simulator), its sensors, and the type of studies that it is able to do. GRANFLOW-SIM is the first experimental unit of its kind designed and built in Mexico to study and simulate different types of granular flows observed in nature (such as landslides, lahars, and debris flows) at real scale and in real-time, employing a large number of sensors and high speed video cameras spread throughout the different sections that comprise it. The understanding of the precursor events and trigger mechanisms, as well as how these flows develop along the volcanic slopes, are of fundamental importance in preventing disasters associated with them, and therefore safeguarding lives and infrastructure. One way in which these phenomena can be studied and modeled is through an experimental apparatus capable of reproducing them in scale. These experimental apparatuses should allow measurement of the maximum number of variables involved during the development of a flow, reproducing the features of hillsides, natural ravines, sedimentation conditions and roughness of the terrain. Since the material that constitutes the avalanche travels at high speed, the measurement of its characteristics in real time implies a technological challenge in both events observed in the field and in the simulators, requiring high speed data collection and large storage information capacity.

Palabras llave : large scale experiments; granular flows; debris avalanches; debris flows; pyroclastic flows.

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