Dam-breach experiment: outburst flood from an overtopping lake (USGS)

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FULL USGS VIDEO HERE:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J08__r3H1LI&t=2s

I gave a talk at the PAGES 2017 meeting about this:
https://youtu.be/tyhHjDLwHlI?t=2m40s

Why do natural and man-made dams quickly collapse when the water level exceeds the height of the barrier, rather than just allowing the water to gradually overflow?

In this dam-breach experiment, a 1-m deep overtopping pond triggers a small flood by gradually eroding the compacted-sand barrier. By USGS, Oregon (2012-06-13).The lake behind the barrier is 23.7 m2 in area (not 10 as wrongly printed in the video).

Relevant papers:

Logan, M., and Iverson, R.M., 2007, revised 2013, Video documentation of experiments at the USGS debris-flow flume 1992–2006 (amended to include 2007–2013): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007–1315 v. 1.3., http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1315/.

Walder, J.S., Iverson, R.M., Godt, J.W., Logan, M., Solovitz, S.A., 2015. Controls on the breach geometry and flood hydrograph during overtopping of noncohesive earthen dams: DAM-BREACH HYDRAULICS AND HYDROGRAPHS. Water Resour. Res. n/a–n/a. doi:10.1002/2014WR016620

Garcia-Castellanos, D., J. O’Connor, 2018. Outburst floods provide erodability estimates consistent with long-term landscape evolution. Scientific Reports. 8:10573. Doi:10.1038/s41598-018-28981-y [open access] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-28981-y

Video Ownership: USGS, published under FOIA:
https://www2.usgs.gov/foia/