Engineering geological analysis of landslides


Professor Florian Amann from the chair LIH works with scientists from ETH Zurich and the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. They are working on the development and prediction of earthquakes as part of the project "Fault Activation and Earthquake Rupture", FEAR for short. Among other things, they are looking at how dangerous the Alps are in terms of earthquake risk and the risk of landslides. Landslides are large-volume rock and debris movements that descend at high velocity from steep mountain flanks. Landslides and smaller defined rockfalls represent a considerable hazard potential for human habitats and infrastructure, especially in the Alps.
In addition to geotechnics, engineering geology is particularly concerned with the analysis of causes and consequences as well as pre-warning strategies of landslides. A special focus of the interdisciplinary research of these mass movements is the impact of climate change. Rising temperatures and the melting of glaciers and permafrost significantly increase the risk of landslides.
On Aug. 23, 2017, one of the largest landslides in Switzerland on Piz Cengalo saw more than three million cubic meters of rock break off, crashing onto the glacier below and destroying the mountain village of Bondo. In the SRF documentary "Bergsturz von Bondo - Wie der Klimawandel die Schweizer Alpen bedroht" (Bondo landslide - How climate change threatens the Swiss Alps), Prof. Florian Amann from the Chair of Engineering and Hydrogeology analyzes the background to the disaster.

Play Video