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Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements

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Head: Dr. Manfred Stähli

The Research Unit investigates natural hazard processes in mountainous areas, in particular the triggering and propagation of floods, sediment transport, landslides, debris flows and rock fall. Process studies on the scale of slopes, channels and catchments form the basis for the development of simulation models and of hazard assessment procedures and for the design of countermeasures. To this end worldwide unique observation systems are developed, such as a debris flow balance and geophone systems for bedload transport. Damage and damaging processes due to frequent and extreme events are assessed as prerequisites for the risk-based and sustainable management of natural hazards.

A second focus of the unit is on the estimation and prediction of snow and water resources, e.g. for hydropower production or early recognition of drought. The unit operates a snow hydrological service for federal and cantonal agencies and a drought information platform for a broad range of water users.

  

Topics

Debris flows and bedload

Mountain torrents on steep terrain can sweep away destructive loads of rock. We investigate these processes to improve protection measures.

Rockfalls and landslides

We research rockfalls, rock slope failures, hillslope debris flows and landslides to give people and infrastructure in valleys better protection.

Floods

Flooding causes a huge amount of damage in Switzerland. We have been laying the foundations for flood forecasting and warnings for over 100 years.

 

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