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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-298
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-298
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 18 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 18 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Three-dimensional numerical simulation of mud flow from a tailings dam failure across complex terrain

Dayu Yu1,2, Liyu Tang1,2, and Chongcheng Chen1,2 Dayu Yu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Spatial Data Mining & Information Sharing of Ministry Education, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China
  • 2National Eng. Research Center of Geospatial Information Technology, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China

Abstract. A tailings dam accident can cause serious ecological disaster and property loss. Simulation of a tailings dam accident in advance is useful for understanding the tailings flow characteristics and assessing the possible extension of the impact area. In this paper, a three-dimensional (3-D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach was proposed for reasonably and quickly predicting the flow routing and impact area of mud flow from a dam failure across 3-D terrain. The Navier–Stokes equations and the Bingham-Papanastasiou rheology model were employed as the governing equations and the constitutive model, respectively, and solved numerically in the finite volume method (FVM) scheme. The volume of fluid (VOF) method was used to track the interface between the tailings and air. The accuracy of the CFD model and the chosen numerical algorithm were validated using an analytical solution of the channel flow problem and a laboratory experiment on the dam break problem reported in the literature. In each issue, the obtained results were very close to the analytical solutions or experimental values. The proposed approach was then applied to simulate two scenarios of tailings dam failures, one of which was the Feijão tailings dam that failed on 25 January 2019, and the simulated routing coincided well with the in situ investigation. Therefore, the proposed approach does well in simulating the flow phenomenon of tailings after a dam break, and the numerical results can be used for early warning of disasters and emergency response.

Dayu Yu et al.
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