Natural Hazards

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 1835–1847 | Cite as

Lessons learned from protective measures associated with the 2010 Zhouqu debris flow disaster in China

  • G. L. Wang
Original Paper


On August 7 and 8, 2010, a catastrophic debris flow disaster occurred in Zhouqu County in northwestern China’s Gansu Province. The large-scale debris flow event destroyed more than 200 buildings, killing approximately 1,700 people. Field investigations showed that the debris flow disaster was not only a natural hazard but also anthropogenic. First, the partial implemented check dams had not formed an integral blocking system to resist large events. Second, poor-quality workmanship contributed to the breakage of check dams. Third, disorderly placement of houses and buildings on the fan structure rendered the cross-sectional area of drainage channel too small to accommodate such a large event. The lessons learned from these hazards may be valuable for improving protective measures against these types of very large debris flow events in northwestern China in the future.


Drainage channel Check dam Debris flow Zhouqu County Impact force 



This work was funded by the China Geological Survey and the Key Laboratory of Geo-hazards in the Loess Area. The author would like to thank M. S. Zhang, Z. H. Li, and G. Q. Yu and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Geo-hazards in Loess Area, Xi’an Center of Geological SurveyChina Geological SurveyXi’anChina

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