Ice thawing, mountains falling—are alpine rock slope failures increasing?

  title={Ice thawing, mountains falling—are alpine rock slope failures increasing?},
  author={Christian Huggel and Simon Keith Allen and Philip Deline and L. Fischer and Jeannette Noetzli and Ludovic Ravanel},
  journal={Geology Today},
Many high‐mountain environments of the world have seen dramatic changes in the past years and decades. Glaciers are retreating and downwasting, often at a dramatically fast pace, leaving large amounts of potentially unstable debris, moraines and rock slopes behind. Although in the main invisible to the eye of an observer, permafrost, i.e. rock and debris with permanent zero or subzero temperatures, is thawing. Several slopes have become unstable and landslides potentially related to permafrost… 

Pronounced increase in slope instability linked to global warming: A case study from the eastern European Alps

In recent decades, slope instability in high‐mountain regions has often been linked to increase in temperature and the associated permafrost degradation and/or the increase in frequency/intensity of

Postglacial to Holocene landscape evolution and process rates in steep alpine catchments

Climate change and high magnitude mass wasting events pose adverse societal effects and hazards, especially in alpine regions. Quantification of such geomorphic processes and their rates is therefore

Climate change impacts on mass movements--case studies from the European Alps.

Permafrost distribution in steep rock slopes in Norway: measurements, statistical modelling and implications for geomorphological processes

Abstract. Permafrost in steep rock slopes has been increasingly studied since the early 2000s in conjunction with a growing number of rock slope failures, which likely resulted from permafrost

Permafrost distribution in steep slopes in Norway: measurements, statistical modelling and geomorphological implication

Abstract. Permafrost in steep slopes has been increasingly studied since the early 2000s in conjunction with a growing number of rock-slope failures, which likely resulted from permafrost

Permafrost as a first order control on long-term rock-slope deformation in (Sub-)Arctic Norway

Implications of climate change on Glacier de la Plaine Morte, Switzerland

Abstract. Changes in Switzerland's climate are expected to have major impacts on glaciers, the hydrological regime and the natural hazard potential in mountainous regions. Glacier de la Plaine Morte

Glacier recession and the changing rockfall hazard: Implications for glacier tourism

Rapid recession and thinning of mountain glaciers worldwide are resulting in changes to glacier surface morphology, which are exacerbated by increased rockfall and debris accumulation at lateral

Impacts of the 2003 and 2015 summer heatwaves on permafrost-affected rock-walls in the Mont Blanc massif.



Permafrost in steep bedrock slopes and its temperature‐related destabilization following climate change

Permafrost in steep bedrock is abundant in many cold-mountain areas, and its degradation can cause slope instability that is unexpected and unprecedented in location, magnitude, frequency, and

Is climate change responsible for changing landslide activity in high mountains?

Climate change, manifested by an increase in mean, minimum, and maximum temperatures and by more intense rainstorms, is becoming more evident in many regions. An important consequence of these

On the influence of topographic, geological and cryospheric factors on rock avalanches and rockfalls in high-mountain areas

Abstract. The ongoing debate about the effects of changes in the high-mountain cryosphere on rockfalls and rock avalanches suggests a need for more knowledge about characteristics and distribution of

Rock avalanches and other landslides in the central Southern Alps of New Zealand: a regional study considering possible climate change impacts

Slope instabilities in the central Southern Alps, New Zealand, are assessed in relation to their geological and topographic distribution, with emphasis given to the spatial distribution of the most

Climate influence on rockfalls in high-Alpine steep rockwalls: The north side of the Aiguilles de Chamonix (Mont Blanc massif) since the end of the ‘Little Ice Age’

Rockfalls fundamentally affect the morphodynamics of high mountain rockwalls, and represent a great danger for both people and infrastructures, but still are poorly known. By comparing old, recent

Detecting Potential Climate Signals in Large Slope Failures in Cold Mountain Regions

Concern and interest are rising that climate change may have an adverse impact on slope stability in mountain regions. Rock slopes in high mountain areas with glaciers and permafrost are particularly

Recent and future warm extreme events and high-mountain slope stability

  • C. HuggelN. Salzmann R. Wessels
  • Environmental Science
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2010
This work describes several large slope failures in rock and ice in recent years in Alaska, New Zealand and the European Alps, and analyses weather patterns in the days and weeks before the failures to find one general temperature pattern.

Late Quaternary intensified monsoon phases control landscape evolution in the northwest Himalaya

The intensity of the Asian summer-monsoon circulation varies over decadal to millennial time scales and is reflected in changes in surface processes, terrestrial environments, and marine sedi- ment

Climate, tectonics, and the morphology of the Andes

Large-scale topographic analyses show that hemisphere-scale climate variations are a first-order control on the morphology of the Andes. Zonal atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere