Mudflow Oetztal

III. Student Colloquium:

"Natural hazards in Mountain regions"

  Get insights into various aspects of geohazards in Mountain areas from experts from different disciplines

  Practise interdisciplinarity and scientific presenting at your student conference

Part 1 - Interdisciplinary information and exchange on geohazards in Mountain areas

Content Block I: Alpine natural hazards - the geological perspective   09.11.2016, 5:30-7:30pm (including 30 min. introduction to the lecture)



The Alps are a tectonically active mountain belt that resulted from crustal shortening in the collision zone between the European and Adriatic plates. This convergence persisted over the last 170 million years and is still ongoing and produced significant topography which in turn causes first-order natural hazards such as earthquakes and all kind of slope failures. In this lecture Marc Ostermann will discuss the major types of natural geohazards effecting the alpine environment.



For several geohazards, including recent mutflows in the vicinity of Innsbruck (Sellraintal, Ötztal, Paznauntal), heavy precipitation events act(ed) as triggers.


Content Block II: Extrem precipitation (enhancement) in Mountain areas as a trigger mechanism
 23.11.2016, 6:00-7:30pm

Heavy Precipitation

Mountains influence weather in various ways: Acting as a barrier, they impact and modify the atmospheric flow. Acting as a heating/cooling surface, they  impact the energy state of the atmosphere. Both processes can cause or enhance precipitation events. Within this lecture we will discuss (1) potential impacts of mountains on strong precipitation events including assessments on real cases, (2) the evolution of heavy precipitation events in Alpine regions in the last decades including assessments on potential effects of climate change and (3) limitations in forecasting extrem events with high spatial and temporal accuracy. (Lecturer: Wolfgang Gurgiser et al.)



Water content of soils and water inflow (rates) are important parameters in models dealing with mass movements.


Content Block III: Modeling of mass movements in Alpine terrain
30.11.2016, 6:00-7:30pm 

Mass movement

Once a mass movement is detected and the displacement vectors are measured or known, a major part is already done. But how can we asses the future behavior of the mass movement? To give insights in the modelling of mass movements, geotechnical calculation methods and material models will be introduced. With these different techniques the influences of external impacts (e.g. precipitation, earthquakes) on displacement rates or on stability can be calculated. (Lecturer: Barbara Schneider-Muntau)




(Complex) Models are powerful tools for understanding processes and estimating magnitudes of mass flow events. However, due to missing input data and spatial coverage other methods are required to access historic events to derive estimation of repetition frequencies and historic magnitudes (model calibration/evaluation).


Content Block IV: Assessing frequencies - how often do different Alpine natural hazards take place?
07.12.2016, 6:00-7:30pm

Lake sediment deformation

To estimate the probability of natural hazards and construct efficient mitigation strategies, it is of crucial importance to know how often natural hazards have taken place, and how severe the worst-case-scenario can be. Such time series can be obtained from direct monitoring, historical documents or geological archives such as lake sediments. In this session we will explore the potential and limitations of these different complementary approaches. By adding a time perspective, we discuss the frequency and magnitude of natural hazards in the Alpine realm, and how this may change over time (Lecturer: Jasper Moernaut). 



Information on event frequencies and magnitudes (Blocks III & IV) are a prerequisite for reasonable hazard zone planing.



Content Block V: Strategies for hazard and risk zone planning
18.01.2017, 6:00-7:30pm

Infrastructure damage

Settlements and infrastructure endangered by natural hazards may be protected by different measures: on the one hand active measures, e.g. protection dams, may reduce the hazard potential. On the other side passive measures, especially hazard/risk zone maps may reduce the damage potential. In this session we focus on differing approaches to hazard and risk zone mapping implemented in several Alpine countries and discuss their advantages and difficulties.(Lecturer: Gertraud Meißl et al.)



 Content Block VI: Final feedback on contents, preparation of conference schedule  
23.01.2017, 6:00-7:00pm


Part 2 - Interdisciplinary Student Conference

Students will prepare 10 min. presentations of their master thesis topics (if already existing) or a topic of interest from their disciplines. Those presentations should be understandable for the other students with different backgrounds. Students will also organize the conference schedule and serve as session conveners like in common scientific conferences. 

Find further details and lecture rooms @ LFU:online   Seehof_2015