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Detecting and modelling fluid flow and critical hydrostatic pressure in permafrost rock walls


Frequent rock slope failures and rock subsidence from permafrost regions in mountains are an increasing hazard for mountain infrastructure and Alpine settelements. This is exemplified by recent rockfalls and rock subsidence problems affecting cable cars and alpine huts. The challenge is interdisciplinary, involving geomechanics, snow and permafrost research and infrastructure engineering. This project combines cutting edge competence on rock-ice mechanics in thawing permafrost rocks, relative gravimetry techniques to decipher critical hydrostatic pressure levels, rock wall temperatures and thermal permafrost rock models including snow melt infiltration to examine the effects of fluid flow and hydrostatic pressure on rock wall deformation.