Geohazard information for the masses

Category: Available MSc projects

MSc opportunity: Application of a new time-dependent limit-equilibrium model to understand progressive failure on bedrock slopes (local sites in Grimsel Pass, or regional analysis in the Himalaya)

Candidate: Open Supervisors: Kerry Leith, Jordan Aaron, Simon Allen (UZH) Institution: University of Zurich, ETH Zurich Activity: Beginning Fall 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 dips […]


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

Candidate: Open Supervisors: Kerry Leith Institution: ETH Zurich Activity: Beginning Fall 2018 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 […]


MSc opportunity: Monitoring progressive damage accumulation at the Bedretto Tunnel, Switzerland

Project Framework and Goals The Furka-Oberalp railway line presents the only year-round east west connection in the Swiss Alps. It serves to link the resort areas of Valais, Central Switzerland, with those in the Grisons, as well as efficient local transportation. Construction of the Furka (Base) Tunnel began in 1972 and was completed in 1982. […]


Environmental controls on bedrock fracturing and rockfall production adjacent to the rapidly thinning Schmiedingerkees glacier (Hohe Tauern Range, Austria)

Candidate: Open Supervisors: Kerry Leith, Ingo Hartmeyer, Markus Keuschnig Institution: ETH Zurich, GEORESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH Activity: Beginning Fall 2018 Since 1880 mean annual air temperatures in Austria have risen by 2 °C, more than twice the average global warming of 0.85 °C. Glacier retreat has evolved into one of the most visible consequences of this climatic change in […]


MSc opportunity: The relationship between large-scale geomorphological processes and local slope instabilities affecting transport networks

Candidate: Open Supervisors: Kerry Leith, Larissa de Palézieux Institution: ETH Zurich Activity: Beginning Fall 2018 The construction of transportation routes can markedly increase the risk of rockfalls and landslides in Alpine settings. Where forming road and rail routes involves excavation or the construction of embankments in locations already in a state of critical stability, minor changes to slope […]


MSc opportunity: Monitoring progressive fracture propagation in response to environmental stress variations

Candidate: Open Supervisors: Kerry Leith, Matthew Perras Institution: ETH Zurich, York University Activity: Beginning Fall 2018 Exceptionally warm summer temperatures in northern Europe during the summer of 2014 were accompanied by active fracturing and small rockbursts from flat-lying postglacial bedrock surfaces on a small Finnish Island. Employing a new portable acoustic emission detection system, this project will investigate […]


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