Chair of Engineering Geology

(Prof. Dr. Kurosch Thuro)


The research focus "slope movements" has been worked on at the Chair of Engineering Geology since 2004 within the framework of several doctoral theses as well as bachelor & master theses. The general objective is the investigation of the processes leading to landslides and thus their causes and triggers as well as coupled processes. The analysis is performed with modern numerical codes (FEflow, UDEC, FLAC/FLAC3D, PFC; Itasca) but also softwares (Swedge, Slide, Phase2; Rocscience).The basis is fundementally the mapping of slope movement phenomena (hazard mapping), hydrogeological mapping and extensive laboratory investigations of the involved unconsolidated and solid rocks.  The risk-related spatial representation in hazard zone maps is carried out with the help of geoinformation systems on a professional level. New work is concerned with the layout of measurement systems for precipitation, groundwater or mountain water levels, soil moisture, displacements at the surface and in the subsurface ("monitoring"), which together with other measurements in a "geosensor network" can also be used as an early warning system (see e.g. project  alpEWAS in the program Geotechnologien BMBF). There are several close cooperations with partners from universities (e.g. TU München Geodäsie, UniBW München, TU Wien, Uni Innsbruck, Uni Erlangen), research institutions (DLR - Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, alpS - Zentrum für alpine Naturgefahren Innsbruck) and industry (Stump Foratec AG, Schweiz, Dr. Plinninger Geotechnik, Deggendorf).

The engineering geological and geotechnical investigations on this complex of issues include:

  • Investigation of the rockfall at Stein an der Traun on January 25, 2010. Detachment process, long-term causes of damage, predictability.
  • Development and testing of an integrative 3D early warning system for alpine unstable slopes alpEWAS (BMBF project Geotechnologien). 
  • Natural hazards in the Alps and protection forest development - a GIS-based overall assessment for a high mountain area around Weißbach bei Lofer, Salzburger Land (Bayer. Staatsforste St. Martin bei Lofer).
  • Hydro-mechanically coupled numerical modeling of large slope movements with the Universal Distinct Element Code UDEC (Goldau landslide) and the Fast Lagrange Code FLAC (Aggenalm/Sudelfeld, BMBF project Geotechnologies).
  • Large-scale analysis of deformations using D-InSAR (collaboration with DLR, Prof. Bamler).
  • Development of a methodology for the safety assessment of mountain roads with regard to gravitationally acting natural hazard processes, based on a risk-oriented approach (Staatliches Bauamt Traunstein / Bayer. Landsamt für Umwelt / Geotest Davos).
  • Limits and possibilities of an intradisciplinary digital terrain model with respect to different falling modelings in 2D and 3D  (Staatliches Bauamt Traunstein / Bayer. Landsamt für Umwelt / Geotest Davos).
  • Characterization and classification of the phenomena of slow creeping deformations in a valley thrust and their sequelae in the context of geological hazard zoning and for the design of monitoring systems. (comissioned by the  Amts für Geologie und Baustoffprüfung der Autonomen Provinz Südtirol in Bozen).
  • Establishment of maps of phenomena (hazard maps) in cooperation with the Geologischen Dienst des Landesamts für Umwelt (Dr. Andreas von Poschinger).
  • Investigation of the shear strength of variable-solid rocks subject to weathering with regard to landslides. Landslides in variable-solid rocks (e.g. in the Franconian Alb).

Associate Professorship of Landslides

(Prof. Dr. Michael Krautblatter)

Current research at the Chair of Landslide Research