Natural Hazards

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 611–625 | Cite as

The 2010 Zhouqu mudflow disaster: possible causes, human contributions, and lessons learned

  • Huijie Xiao
  • Zhidong Luo
  • Qiaogang Niu
  • Jiang Chang
Original Paper


On August 7, 2010, a giant mudflow occurred in Zhouqu County, in China’s Gansu Province. It killed at least 1,467 people and destroyed many buildings. The extensive damage resulted partially from the impact of the swift mudflow, and partially from subsequent flooding caused by damming of the Bailong River, creating a lake. The mudflow had both internal and external causes. We discuss these in detail from the perspective of their relationship to human activities, with the goal of helping to provide advance warning of such disasters in the future.


China Mudflows Dammed river Natural disasters Human activities 



The project was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. TD2011-3). The authors also thank the Gansu Provincial Department of Housing and Urban and Rural Development and the Zhouqu Forestry Bureau for supporting the investigation. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huijie Xiao
    • 1
  • Zhidong Luo
    • 2
  • Qiaogang Niu
    • 3
  • Jiang Chang
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Soil and Water ConservationBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Soil and Water Conservation Monitoring CenterMinistry of Water ResourcesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.China Central TelevisionCCTV News CenterBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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