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Mountain Hazards

``The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge``

(Thomas Berger)

Alpine Rivers -
data collection, hydraulic modeling, result evaluation


The heterogeneous environment of alpine catchments results in a number of possible discharge processes. Various methods are used to describe and simulate these events in order to assess the potential risks.

  1. Which measuring techniques and monitoring options are available to assess bed load transport processes?
  2. Which model approaches and simulation tools are currently applied for hydraulic investigations in alpine catchments
  3. How do database & grid resolution affect the accuracy of hydraulic simulation results?

Coordinated by: Katharina Baumgartner & Adrian Lindermuth

Keywords: alpine rivers, bed load transport, hydraulic simulation

Surface Water Flooding


This session will be dedicated to hydrological and hydrodynamic processes involved in surface water floods and discuss methods and tools to estimate the impact of these processes.

  1. How is precipitation transformed into surface runoff and which factors play a key role?
  2. Which tools and methods are available to assess the impact of surface water floods/pluvial flash floods?
  3. Which strategies to deal with pluvial flash flood hazards can be pursued on local, regional and national level? (best practice examples)
  4. Can we predict future trends? (land-use change, climate change)

Coordinated by: Simon Lumassegger, Andreas Huber

Keywords: pluvial flash flooding, surface water floods, surface runoff generation

Cascade effects in
natural hazards modelling and risk assessment


Natural hazards such as avalanches, floods, earthquakes, debris flows, landslides or rock falls are a perpetual threat to human settlements worldwide and particularly in mountain regions with high relief energy. For risk assessment and the planning of mitigation strategies natural hazards are often seen as isolated phenomena, neglecting possible links and feedback processes. A number of historical hazard events worldwide showed, that occurred cascade effects can increase extent and intensities of hazard processes dramatically. Cascade hazard effects get more and more in the focus of scientific research and operating practice of protecting human settlements against natural hazards. Phenomena regarding hydraulic hazards as consequences of a landslide collapse are common in mountain regions, as the Alps. As a feedback from a landslide, natural dam break, in mountain rivers, or landslide-generated impulse waves, in lakes or reservoir, represent a focus in the science world for the natural hazards in mountain regions. Several methods and instruments are nowadays available for the study and assessment of these kind of phenomena.

  1. Which processes are typical triggers and contribute mainly to the appearance of cascade effects?
  2. Which links and feedbacks between hazard processes are related to the term “cascade effects”?
  3. Are possible cascade effects during natural hazard events considered in any active and passive protection strategies in mountain regions?
  4. Is it possible to holistically consider various single hazard processes and cascade effects with scenario-specific reoccurrence intervals for risk assessment?
  5. What are basic problems and future challenges in modelling cascade effects of natural hazards in mountain regions?
  6. How far are we to prevent catastrophic event such as landslide generate tsunami type wave?
  7. Is there a need to strive for a more uniform terminology of the involved technical and natural science disciplines when dealing with cascade effects of natural hazards?

Coordinated by: Andrea Franco

Keywords: natural hazards, cascade effects, mountain regions, interdisciplinarity, modelling, risk assessment

Geometric Models in
fold- and thrust belts


The internal geometries of fold-and-thrust belts are a prerequisite to predict buried seismogenic faults and therefore earth quake hazard risk. Investigations in the Northern Calcareous Alps have shown that the current models do not explain the observed structures. The following research questions will be addressed in this workshop:

  1. How viable are the current geometric models in fold- and thrust belts for the prediction of subsurface structures?
  2. Which structures can be observed in nature?
  3. Why can standard models not explain the observed structures? How could we find a new geometric model?
  4. What does that mean for the prediction of fault zones and earth quake hazard risk?

Coordinated by: Sinah Kilian

Keywords: fold- and thrust belts, earth quake hazard risk, geometric models, fault zones

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