The Kestrel software for simulations of morphodynamic Earth-surface flows

Jake Langham, M J Woodhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Kestrel is a program for simulating flows composed of a mixture of fluid and sediment.
It includes the facility to model material exchange with the topography over which the
flow propagates, by incorporating sediment entrainment and deposition. These physical
processes, which mutually couple the flow with its underlying bed, are sometimes collectively
termed ‘morphodynamics’. Simulations may be initiated either on simple surfaces or on more
realistic terrains, via a user-specified digital elevation model (DEM). The latter option enables
computations on topographies measured to approximate the Earth’s surface, so that real world
events may be reconstructed and potential future scenarios may be modelled. Kestrel has
been primarily developed for Earth sciences research into natural hazards, including volcanic
mudflows (lahars), flash floods and landslides. However, it may also be useful for modelling
flows of interest to engineers, applied mathematicians, geophysicists and industry scientists,
see e.g. Capart & Young (1998), Cao et al. (2004), Iverson & Ouyang (2015) and Langham
et al. (2021). The versatility of the code is a deliberate design choice. As discussed below,
many of the key physical processes are implemented in a modular way, allowing the user to
choose between different options, depending on the problem. Furthermore, for expert users it
should be relatively straightforward to extend the code to support alternative modelling terms
that suit individual needs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6079
JournalJournal of Open Source Software
Issue number93
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2024


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