Earthflow vs. Mudflow

By Jaxson

  • Earthflow

    An earthflow (earth flow) is a downslope viscous flow of fine-grained materials that have been saturated with water and moves under the pull of gravity. It is an intermediate type of mass wasting that is between downhill creep and mudflow. The types of materials that are susceptible to earthflows are clay, fine sand and silt, and fine-grained pyroclastic material.When the ground materials become saturated with enough water, they will start flowing (soil liquefaction). Its speed can range from being barely noticeable to rapid movement. The velocity of the flow is dictated by water content: the higher the water content is, the higher the velocity will be. Because of the dependency on water content for the velocity of the flow, it can take minutes or years for the materials to move down the slope.

  • Mudflow

    A mudflow or mud flow is a form of mass wasting involving “very rapid to extremely rapid surging flow” of debris that has become partially or fully liquified by the addition of significant amounts of water to the source material.Mudflows contain a significant proportion of clay, which makes them more fluid than debris flows; thus, they are able to travel farther and across lower slope angles. Both types are generally mixtures of various kinds of materials of different sizes, which are typically sorted by size upon deposition.Mudflows are often called mudslides, a term applied indiscriminately by the mass media to a variety of mass wasting events. Mudflows often start as slides, becoming flows as water is entrained along the flow path; such events are often called flow slides.Other types of mudflows include lahars (involving fine-grained pyroclastic deposits on the flanks of volcanoes) and j√∂kulhlaups (outbursts from under glaciers or icecaps).A statutory definition of “flood-related mudslide” appears in the United States’ National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, codified at 42 USC Sections 4001 and following.

  • Earthflow (noun)

    A downslope viscous flow of fine-grained materials that have been saturated with water, moving under the pull of gravity.

  • Mudflow (noun)

    A type of landslide characterized by large flows of mud and water.

  • Mudflow (noun)

    The dried-out product of such a flow.

  • Earthflow (noun)

    Motion of a saturated mass of fine-grained sediment down a slope, especially when made fluid by excessive rainfall; an instance of this.

  • Mudflow (noun)

    a fluid or hardened stream or avalanche of mud.

Oxford Dictionary

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