Perspective view of the Hérémence Valley (south of Sion, VS). Hillslopes responding to long-term fluvial incision are highlighted, with increasingly cooler colours reflecting progressively older waves of incision.

Perspective view of the Hérémence Valley (south of Sion, VS). Hillslopes responding to long-term fluvial incision are highlighted, with increasingly cooler colours reflecting progressively older waves of incision.

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 geometry or groundwater conditions can have a notable impact on local ground conditions. In this project we will combine a new catalogue of slope instabilities affecting the road and rail networks in Canton Valais with results of a recent study which provides constraint on the geomorphological evolution of rock slopes and river channels in the region. The project will include GIS analysis, and limited fieldwork to ground-truth observations derived from the initial stages of the project. Basic knowledge of Matlab and/or GIS software (ArcGIS / QGIS), and some background in statistics would therefore be useful, though is not essential.

Supervisor: Dr. Kerry Leith

Co-Supervisors : Dr. Sean Gallen

Extended Abstract (PDF)