University of Innsbruck

A multidisciplinary approach for landslide-induced impulse waves assessments in natural mountain basins from a cascade analysis perspective

Andrea Franco
Supervising board members: Bernhard Gems, Barbara Schneider-Muntau, Jasper Moernaut, Michael Strasser


Project Overview

Climate change is driving rapid geomorphological changes in high mountains, which may increase the likelihood of extreme natural hazards.  In the last centuries, the consciousness of one of the most catastrophic phenomena like landslide-generated impulse waves (or landslide-tsunami) has spread since several catastrophes happened. The main task of the ongoing scientific research is to develop suitable methodologies for assessing landslide-tsunami and thus preventing such disasters.

The PhD project of Andrea Franco focuses on an interdisciplinary research approach for studying and analyzing landslide-induced impulse waves in natural mountain basins from a cascade analyses perspective. The main goal is to explain the necessity to assess this kind of phenomenon and how a multidisciplinary approach concerning different sciences is useful and mandatory in this topic. The first part of the research focuses on studying past landslide-tsunami events and verifying the available possibilities in recreating such complex phenomena. With the increase in computational power over the last decades, numerical modelling approaches are commonly used to virtually simulate the landslide process and the further wave dynamics. The second part focuses on generating a simple methodology for assessing the magnitude of potential landslide-induced impulse wave’s attenuation in mountain lakes. The method is based on analytical equations; final results describe the near-shore impulse-wave magnitude in terms of flow depth at the shoreline. The findings carried out from this research significantly contribute to a better understanding of complex phenomena such as landslide-induced impulse waves in mountain natural basins, the influence of external triggering factors, and the downstream consequences.

Franco_etal_Analysis of landslide induced impulse waves_fig1


Franco_etal_Analysis of landslide induced impulse waves_fig2

Project Outcome, List of Publications

Franco et al. (2021) Geometry-based preliminary quantification of landslide-induced impulse wave attenuation in mountain lakes. In revision for Journal of Applied Sciences.

Dai et al. (2021) Engineering-Geological Analysis of a Subaerial Landslide in Taan Fiord, Alaska. Remote Sens. 2021, 13(21), 4258,

Franco et al. (2021) Triggers and consequences of landslide-induced impulse waves – 3D dynamic reconstruction of the Taan Fiord 2015 tsunami event. Engineering Geology, 294, 106384,

Franco et al. (2020) The 1958 Lituya Bay tsunami – pre-event bathymetry reconstruction an 3D numerical modelling utilising the computational fluid dynamics software Flow-3D. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2255–2279,


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