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Spies and Landslides - How an Agent-Based Model Better Predicts Debris Flow Runout

Credible models of landslide runout are a critical component of hazard and risk analysis in mountainous regions worldwide. Hazard analysis benefits enormously from the number of available landslide runout models that can recreate events and provide key insights into the nature of landslide phenomena. Regional models that are easily employed, however, remain a rarity. For debris flows and debris avalanches, where the impacts may occur some distance from the source, there remains a need for a practical, predictive model that can be applied at the regional scale.

DebrisFlow Predictor is software that simplifies the complex behavior of debris flows and debris avalanches (collectively referred to as debris flows) to provide reasonable predictions of landslide runout, inundation, and depth along the path.

This talk will introduce DebrisFlow Predictor, explain what an agent-based simulation is and why it works so well, and provide case studies where DebrisFlow Predictor was successfully deployed. In addition to the slide show, a live video feed will demonstrate LABS in action and discuss some of the pros and cons of deploying such a model.


Presented By:


Richard Guthrie, MSc, PhD, MASME, PGeo

Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary, Alberta
Senior Engineer, Snowline Associates Ltd., Calgary, Alberta

Dr. Richard Guthrie is an internationally recognized geoscientist with expertise in geohazards and risk assessment. His research is published in leading scientific journals including Nature Geoscience, Geomorphology, Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Science, Landslides, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, and the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology (among others). He is the recipient of multiple awards including Best Paper in EGBC’s Innovation (2018), Best Paper at IPC (2018), and the Consulting Engineers of Alberta Showcase Award (2019) for software (DebrisFlow Predictor, formerly LABS: an agent-based landslide simulation model). DebrisFlow Predictor was a finalist for the UK Ground Engineering Awards in three categories.

As the Director for the Geohazards and Geomorphology at Stantec, Dr. Guthrie leads an expert team of specialists to solve slope, river, and erosion problems related to engineering, construction, and the natural environment.