Debris flow susceptibility mapping in Colorado Front Range, USA: A comparison of physics-based and data-driven approaches

Te Pei, Tong Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This study used an inventory of debris flow triggered by a storm event in Colorado Front Range as an example to compare the capability of data-driven and physics-based approaches for regional-scale debris flow susceptibility mapping (LSM). Nine debris flow contributing factors were collected for the present study based on the availability of geophysical data in the study area. These contributing factors represent hillslope geometries, surface hydrology, and soil conditions. For the physics-based approach, the infinite slope model was used to directly determine the debris flow susceptibility for the study area by calculating the factor of safety (FS) based on parameters derived from geophysical data. For the data-driven approach, an artificial neural network (ANN) was developed to predict debris flow susceptibility for the study area by learning relationships from the contributing factors using the debris flow inventory. The results showed that both physics-based and data-driven models predicted debris flow susceptibility in the study area with relatively high accuracy; the data-driven approach outperformed the physics-based approach as it could extract complex features which the physics-based approach did not consider.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number01018
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
StatePublished - Aug 18 2023
Event8th International Conference on Debris Flow Hazard Mitigation, DFHM 2023 - Torino, Italy
Duration: Jun 26 2023Jun 29 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Energy
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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