Geohazard information for the masses

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Research project: GlacierRocks – Glacier-Headwall Interaction and its Influence on Rockfall Activity

Ingo HartmeyerMarkus KeuschnigJan-Christoph Otto Kay HelfrichtKerry Leith Michael Krautblatter Institutions: GEORESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, University of Salzburg, Technische Universität München, Austrian Academy of Sciences, ETH Zurich Goal: The proposed project GlacierRocks will establish the worldwide first research site for long-term monitoring of stability-relevant processes inside a randkluft system. Based on the acquired monitoring data GlacierRocks is pursuing […]


MSc Martin Kradolfer: The role of ice filled cracks on rock slope stability – a laboratory study

Candidate: Martin Kradolfer Supervisors: Florian Amann, Kerry Leith Institution: ETH Zurich Activity: Beginning Fall 2017 Project Framework: Ice filled tension cracks are commonly observed in association with active or catastrophic rock slope failures located in potential permafrost regions of the Alps. Displacement or dislocation along cracks in many of these rock slopes has been observed to primarily occur […]


BSc opportunity: Assessment of deep-seated landslide distributions in the Alps (Two possible topics: Valais and Ticino)

Gaining a better understanding of processes that contribute to the formation of large rock slope failures can provide important insight into their mechanics and future development throughout the Alps. Such instabilities are commonly assumed to be initiated as a result of erosion, seismic activity, or a change in rainfall patterns. They are not have not […]


BSc opportunity: Characterisation of >300 rainfall-induced landslides on a major transport route in the Bhutan Himalaya

Gaining a better understanding of factors that contribute to the location of rainfall-induced landslides affecting alpine transport networks is an important first stem in protecting against such events, and maintaining access to critical regions during intense weather events. Three days of late monsoon rainfall in the Bhutan Himalaya this year generated an unprecedented degree of […]


BSc opportunity: Processing of acoustic emission (AE) data from an exfoliation fracture formed in response to high temperatures in the Finnish Archipelago

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 the correspondence between key environmental variables (air and rock temperature, humidity, wind, and […]


BSc opportunity: Robust Sensor Infrastructures for Environmental Monitoring

The global increase in atmospheric temperature may be accelerating the physical breakdown of landscape and infrastructure. Rock expands when heated, and combined with other stresses in the landscape associated with topography and regional tectonic history, can potentially trigger the formation of large rockfalls. Recently, large bedrock outcrops in California and Finland hosted dramatic fracturing events […]


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 […]


BSc Andrina Vlasek: Assessment of deep-seated landslide distributions in the Alps: Ticino

Candidate: Andrina Vlasek Supervisors: Kerry Leith, Andrea Manconi Institution: ETH zurich Activity: Completed summer 2016 Natural hazards such as landslides happen frequently in Switzerland, more than 6% of Switzerland’s area is prone to slope instability. Not all landscapes are equally prone to landslide instabilities, but depend on various factors, such as geologic (e.g. lithology), topographic (e.g. slope steepness) […]


MSc Patrick Hadener: Time-dependent behaviour of two different prismatic limestone specimens

Candidate: Patrick Hadener Supervisors: Matthew Perras, Kerry Leith Institution: ETH Zurich Activity: Fall 2016 – ongoing Supervisors: Dr. Matthew Perras & Dr. Kerry Leith  


BSc Barbara Kessler: Stress changes and fracture development on the Zugspitzplatt as a result of deglaciation.

Candidate: Barbara Kessler Supervisors: Kerry Leith, Michael Krautblatter Institution: Technical University of Munich Activity: Completed summer 2015 The impact of glacier retreat on rock slope instability since the Last Glacial Maximum is the subject of ongoing debate. Rock slope activity since ice retreat is typically attributed to increased kinematic freedom as a result of erosion during glaciation, […]

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