A Review of Three Significant Geohazards in the Canadian Cordillera: the Case of River Floods, Debris Flows/Floods, and Debris/Rock Avalanches


  • Olav Slaymaker Department of Geography, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver




Canadian Cordillera, geohazards, forestry, mining, agriculture, urbanization, river floods, debris flows/floods, debris/rock avalanches


Research into sudden-onset geohazards, such as river floods, debris flows/floods and debris/rock avalanches is prominent in literature on the Canadian Cordillera. The unresolved question is the relative importance of river floods, debris flows/floods and debris/rock avalanches over shorter and longer time scales and at smaller and larger spatial scales. River flooding is the costliest geohazard at regional scale and over century time scales but debris/rock avalanches are the deadliest at individual slope scale and over seasonal time scale. In terms of work done on the landscape, debris flows/floods are the most pervasive geohazard and have a huge influence on the long-term moulding of the landscape but figure less prominently in terms of fatalities and cost. Intensified land use, such as forestry, mining, agriculture and urbanization, is the primary reason for the increase in the cost of geohazards to society over the past three decades but climate change adds further uncertainties to the assessment of future geohazards.




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