Geohazard information for the masses

The Engineering Geology Group at ETH Zurich wishes you all ‘einen guten Rutsch’ (a good slide) into the New Year

MSc opportunity: Investigating the effect of high summer temperatures on hazardous rockfall in an Alpine setting (Gelmersee, Grimsel Pass)

In late August 2017 moderately-sized rockfall occurred on a south-facing rock wall above the popular Gelmersee hiking trail (immediately north of Grimsel Pass), leaving six people injured. Although the occurrence of such rockfalls in alpine regions is unsurprising, the location, geological setting, and timing of this event mirrors conditions associated with a number of recent high-profile mid-summer […]


Do glaciers really do all the work? Perhaps not. Check out our new paper to find out why.

Recently, my co-authors and I published a rather controversial article entitled ‘Signatures of Late Pleistocene fluvial incision in an Alpine landscape‘ in Earth and Planetary Science Letters (Volume 483, Leith et al., 2018). In this post we summarise the main outcomes, and look into a part of the backstory that never made it to print. […]


Leith et al. (2018) EPSL

Do glaciers really do all the work? Opinions are divided, but here’s a chance to make up your own mind! Our new paper with and is finally out in EPSL

Catch us at the Swiss Geoscience Meeting, 17 – 18 November

This week the Swiss Geoscience Meeting will be hosted by the Snow and Avalanche Research SLF and the Platform Geosciences of the Swiss Academy of Sciences in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting offers a great chance to keep in touch with scientists from across the country with broad interdisciplinary interests. This year we’ll be presenting work from an environmentally-driven […]


MSc Marco Zapatatorres: A new time-dependent limit-equilibrium model to understand progressive failure in bedrock slopes on the Grimsel Pass

Candidate: Marco Zapatorres Supervisors: Kerry Leith, Jordan Aaron, Simon Allen (UZH) Institution: University of Zurich, ETH Zurich Activity: Beginning Spring 2018 Introduction Undercutting of rock slopes by either (river or glacier) erosion or highway construction commonly leaves overhanging unstable blocks that collapse after a period of time, endangering people and property, and changing the local geomorphological environment. When bedding or foliation […]


A compilation of meteorological observations, pore water pressure measurements, and the model results.

A new paper describing a simplistic model for the evaluation of landslide hydrology (with very limited data): Nie, W., Krautblatter, M., Leith, K., Thuro, K., Festl, J., (2017)  A modified tank model including snowmelt and infiltration time lags for deep-seated landslides in alpine environments (Aggenalm, Germany), Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci.

An uncommon look at frost wedging in the lab under ‘autumn’, ‘winter’, and ‘spring’ conditions

Frost wedging describes the process by which pressure from the expansion of freezing water in pre-exising fractures generates sufficient tensile stress to propagate the crack further into intact rock. Although this seems like a reasonably common sense interpretation (given the transition from water to ice involves a 9% expansion that’s often associated with the bursting […]


MSc Jonas von Wartburg: Constraining the age and source area of the Molveno landslide deposits in the Brenta Group, Trentino Dolomites.

Candidate: Jonas von Wartburg Supervisors: Susan Ivy-Ochs, Kerry Leith, Jordan Aaron, Prof. Dr. Silvana Martin (U. Padua) Institution: ETH Zurich, University of Padua Activity: Beginning Fall 2017 Introduction A detailed understanding of prehistoric landslides provides fundamental information on the inherent causes of massive rock slope failures in the Alps. In Trentino, a key issue in assessing hazards […]


Find me at EGU 2017

As usual, there’s plenty happening at EGU this year. You can find me at any one of these locations: Monday Mon, 24 Apr, 15:30–15:45, Room N1, GM1.6/BG9.38/HS11.11/NH8.8/TS4.7 | | Highlight Dynamic fracture development in response to extreme summer temperatures: 27/7/2014, Långören Island, Finland (EGU2017-16387) by Kerry Leith, Matthew Perras, Topias Siren, Tuomas Rantanen, Suvi Heinonen, […]

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