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Triggering of Rapid Mass Movements in Steep Terrain

 In short

Lab experiment to test a new IDAS fiber-optic AE detection system (Photo: P
Lab experiment to test a new IDAS fiber-optic AE detection system (Photo: P. Lehmann)

TRAMM was a research project of the ETH Competence Centre of Environment and Sustainability (CCES) with the aim to better understand mechanisms of rapid mass movements. While the first phase (2006-10) contained numerous dedicated field and lab experiments, such as an artificially released landslide on a steep forest slope, the second phase (2012-15) focused on further developing numerical models to make them usable in future early warning systems.
Recent progress has been achieved in
accounting for high-resolution precipitation information and hydro-geological impacts in landslide models, as well as in linking the triggering and runout of mass movements. In addition, our recent work has substantially
advanced the understanding and use of acoustic emissions as precursors of landslides and snow avalanches. In a workshop with practitioners, we have discussed limitations of current early warning systems (EWS) and how EWS can be further developed for a safe and timely recognition of imminent hazards. TRAMM research has also been presented to a broad audience at Scientifica 2013.

White paper "Strategies towards design of next-generation Early Warning Systems (EWS) for rapid mass movements" (Feb. 2014) -> download


New publications

TRAMM synthesis report

Here you can download the TRAMM synthesis report summarizing the main activities and achievements of TRAMM (phase 1) for natural hazard experts and decision makers. (accomplished in November 2010; 50 pages, 4.1 MB).

--> download the report

Summary report of the international TRAMM conference at Monte Verita, April 2010
17-Mar, 2009: Successful landslide experiment at Rüdlingen (SH)
On 17-March, 2009, 03:23 a.m. a shallow landslide of approximately 150 m3 was triggered by irrigation at the experimental slope in Rüdlingen (SH). On the right, you can see images of the experimental slope after the release.

In-depth analysis of the data are currently made by the different involved groups.

A film of the landslide triggering made by A. Askarinejad (IGT ETH Zürich) based on images provided by D. Akca (IGP ETH Zürich) is available here.

Successful artificial landslide at Rüdlingen (SH)
Successful artificial landslide at Rüdlingen (SH)

TRAMM project partners

Project coordinator:

Dr. Manfred Stähli, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Mountain Hydrology and Torrents
Project administrator:

Dr. Peter Lehmann, ETH Zürich, Soil and Terrestrial Environmental Physics

Principal investigators:
Prof. Dr. Sarah Springman, ETH Zürich, Institute for Geotechnical Engineering

Prof. Dr. Dani Or, Dr. Peter Lehmann, ETH Zürich, Soil and Terrestrial Environmental Physics

Prof. Dr. Lyesse Laloui, EPF Lausanne, Soil Mechanics Laboratory

Dr. Brian McArdell, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Avalanches, Debris and Rock Fall

Dr. Jürg Schweizer, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Snow and Permafrost Research

Prof. Dr. Alexis Berne, EPF Lausanne, Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory

(PIs in TRAMM phase 1, 2006-10)

Prof. Dr. Christophe Ancey, EPF Lausanne, Environmental Hydraulics Lab

Dr. Laurent Tacher, EPF Lausanne, Engineering and Environmental Geology Laboratory

Project duration:

Phase 1: 2006 - 2010
Phase 2: 2012 - 2015

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