RAMMS - Rapid Mass Movement Simulation

Avalanches, debris flows and rockfalls are everyday occurrences in the mountains. RAMMS is a software package that allows these natural hazard processes to be evaluated and facilitates an assessment of the influences of protective measures. By way of RAMMS, the SLF places a valuable instrument at the disposal of practitioners and researchers alike. 

At high altitude in the mountains, danger is ever-present in the form of fragile rocks, loose stone, debris, scree, soil, water, and snow and ice masses. Gravity constantly subjects this matter to strain, builds up stresses, opens fissures and overcomes all resistance until stone, rock or snow is ultimately released and thunders towards the valley. Avalanches, debris flows and rockfalls are all rapid gravitational mass movement processes, and RAMMS exploits this specific similarity.

Broad application scope

Developed by the SLF/WSL, the RAMMS software package uses numerical models to simulate natural hazard processes, giving consideration to proposed or existing protective structures and the influence of the actual environment, such as topographical features and forests. The distinctive characteristic of RAMMS is its ability to describe mathematically the flow properties of granular snow masses and slurries containing mud and rock debris. The rockfall model performs calculations with actual rock forms and thus enables the program to give consideration to the underlying geology when plotting hazard maps. Users worldwide employ the software to evaluate danger and plot hazard maps, assess risks, plan protective measures for roads and settlements, to produce expert opinions relating to accidents and property damage, and to perform a wide variety of other tasks.

Modular design

RAMMS currently consists of three process modules:

Thanks to the user-friendly and intuitive interface, case studies can be defined and simulated quickly. RAMMS presents the simulation results graphically, using animation techniques to illustrate how the snow, debris, water and rock forge a route to the valley bottom. The results of different scenarios are easy to compare. Georeferenced satellite images, aerial photographs or topographical maps serve as backgrounds.

Spin-off RAMMS AG

On July 1, 2024, the RAMMS software was transferred to the newly founded RAMMS AG. Marc Christen, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, is the main developer of the software, which he has designed and developed from scratch together with Perry Bartelt and other SLF employees since its inception in 2006.

Further information can be found at: