Geohazard information for the masses

Progressive Rock Failure conference, 5 – 8 June 2017

Geological materials change their strength properties through time, which has significant implications for the stability of natural and artificial slopes, surface or subsurface excavations, and deep boreholes used for energy production. The Engineering Geology Group at ETH Zurich will organize a conference to address these critical topics in a subsidized event overlooking Lake Maggiore in […]


EGU 2015: Geomechanics in natural environments (Tue, 14 Apr, 13:30–15:00)

The annual General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union is one of the largest meetings of Earth scientists in the world. It hosts the largest meeting of geomorphologists (scientists generally interested in processes such as river erosion, landslides, tectonics and glaciation), and with almost 15,000 abstracts submitted this year provides a great opportunity for scientists […]


How different are the New Zealand and European Alps?

The answer is very, and it’s all down to climate, vegetation, and tectonics. Early winter in the central Swiss Alps (Saas Fee, Switzerland) Below are equally scaled Google Earth images of the Arolla Valley in the central Swiss Alps (left), and the Callery Valley on the western side of the New Zealand Alps (right). Of […]


Geomechanics in natural environments: A new session for the EGU General Assembly 2015

  For those of you looking for an excuse to leave your desk, my colleagues and I have proposed a new session for EGU 2015 in Vienna, Austria, “Geomechanics in natural environments: quantifying environmental stresses and physical soil or rock behaviour“. We expect contributions will improve our ability to predict change in Earth surface systems, and hope […]


Clues for former instability at the site of the Koslanda landslide, Sri Lanka

Monsoon rains triggered a large earth flow near the town of Koslanda yesterday. The landslide struck early in the morning, and according to the Disaster Management Center destroyed more than 120 homes, with current estimates suggesting there could be more than 100 casualties. New video from the site gives the first really good impression of the […]


Stress-driven has found a new digital home

Hi all, After a long weekend of coding I’ve moved to a new home in the open source environment. This should make a big difference to the usability and scalability of the site, while keeping the effort required for me to add new content to a minimum. At the moment there may still […]


Fracturing of ancient bedrock surfaces during an extremely hot summer

Long periods of exceptionally high temperatures in California and Finland this summer have been associated with the formation of large ‘exfoliation’ or ‘sheeting’ fractures in bedrock surfaces that may have remained largely unchanged since the last ice age.


Randa rockfall update: One of those rare cases

In the case of the 29/08/14 failure, members of the ETH Zurich had captured images of the rock slope two weeks prior to the event, and as the SLF was working in the region at the time, images immediately (approx. 30 min) after the event are also available. This is a rare case for such a large alpine rockfall, and in addition to the video I posted earlier could offer opportunities to investigate the driving mechanism and failure process with more detail than is usually possible.


Ongoing instability of the Randa rock slope (Switzerland)

A large Alpine rockfall caught on video


Glacier retreat and slope instability, an example from Mount Kazbek, Georgia

A large landslide close to the Georgia – Russia border this week killed up to eight people, and disrupted construction of a new hydropower diversion tunnel.

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