Long-runout landslides are catastrophic events that host a set of peculiarities in terms of runout behaviour and deposit characteristics. Particularly fascinating are their retention of source stratigraphy despite intense fragmentation. Through detailed sedimentologic and morphologic analyses we begin to understand the minute details of their emplacement histories, their commonalities with other mass movements, and properties that are unique to only certain types of deposits.
Landslides, volcanic debris avalanches, debris flows, and glaciers have the capacity to dam rivers - short-term or long-term; for days or for millenia. This interest of mine is tied into the topic above 'landslides' and the one below 'fragmentation'. What causes natural dams to fail within days or months after formation? What are the reasons for some to remain stable for significant timespans? Structural, sedimentologic, morphometric, and hydrologic investigations, and a lot of mileage in the field should harbour more answers.
Entire mountain flanks collapse and turn from initially relatively intact rock masses into debris sheets in which over 99% of all clast are smaller than 100 µm in size. They fragment, but their stratigraphic units do not mix. Building upon the detailed case study of my project at the carbonate Tschirgant rock avalanche deposit in Austria, and reviewing previous facies models and fragmentation studies in other fields is one of the roads my research is taking me for the moment ...
Patterns intrigue me. I have a keen eye for details and often marvel at the sheer complexity of forms that emerge when one looks closely. Yet, simultaneously, there appears to be a universal simplicity: the same form or feature appears over and over again in different settings. May it be surface patterns across all scales (and environments) of granular mass movements, fragmenting grains repeating their demise in apparently fractal patterns, or galaxies and snails arranging themselves in similitude.
Volcanoes fascinate humanity. Some years ago, I was lucky to work on Mauna Loa volcano in Hawai'i. During several field seasons on the Southwest Rift Zone, I mapped a young, picritic flow field that originated from vents far from the summit crater. Its flows reached the ocean and are exposed in roadcuts along the circum-island highway. Over 100 locations sampled for geochemical analyses, microprobe images and analyses of phenocrysts, lava flow runout modelling ... stay tuned.
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