There is a widespread interest in modelling landslide-generated impulse waves, e.g. see Xing et al. 2016.


The simulations were performed during PhD research by Pan Yang to illustrate advanced coupling methods under development with Xiang, J., Pain, C., and Latham, J-P.

This application uses the immersed-body method for fluid-structure interaction developed by Yang et al.(2016). The fluid computational domain is 165 m × 60 m with an initial intact rock with one major discontinuity at 45 degrees. Setting the friction coefficient to just below 1.0, the rock slide is initiated and internal stresses lead to breakup on sliding into the lake. The lake is modeled by a finite element multiphase fluid code (Fluidity-Multiphase). The fracture solid is modeled by a combined finite-discrete element solid code (FEMDEM) using a Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion with a tension cut-off. In this simulation, the blue parts refer to the air; the red part represents the water; the black solid lines are the cracks generated inside the rock blocks. When a large piece of rock slides into the lake, it starts to break before it reaches the water-air interface. After it touches the water-air interface, a huge wave is generated. This wave transfers to the opposite side of the lake reaching about 30m high at the left slope face. When the rock hits the floor of the lake, a significant amount of fragmentation is generated. The wave reflected by the left hand side of the valley modifies and re-profiles the fractured rock debris.



Yang P. et al. (2016) Modelling of fluid-structure interaction with multiphase viscous flows using an immersed-body method, J. Comput. Phys.

Guo, L., J.-P. Latham, and J. Xiang. (2015) Numerical simulation of breakages of concrete armour units using a three-dimensional fracture model in the context of the combined finite-discrete element method. Computers & Structures, 146:117–142.

Xiang, J., Latham, J.-P., & Harrison, J. P. (2011). A Numeric Simulation of Rock Avalanches Using the Combined Finite-Discrete Element Method, FEMDEM. In 44th US Rock Mechanics Symposium and 5th U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium (pp. 921-927). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Xing, A., Xu, Q., Zhu, Y. et al. Landslides (2016) 13: 411. doi:10.1007/s10346-016-0679-5