This is the web site of a research project funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences from November 2022 to October 2025. It involves the University of Graz, the University of Salzburg, the three Austrian UNESCO Global Geoparks, and various international partners.
Erz der Alpen UNESCO Global Geopark
Why do the mountains in the background look so much more rugged than the hills in the foreground?
Rock fall and earth flow processes, Karawanken/Karavanke UNESCO Global Geopark
What are the implications of geological hard-on-soft situations?
Wildalpen Landslide, Steirische Eisenwurzen UNESCO Global Geopark
Why do we know the time of the year when this landslide occurred?
The movemont.at project aims at exploring the role of landslides as geosystem services, with a particular focus on environmental education at the three Austrian UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Learn about the main ideas of movemont.at.
Landslides are common processes in mountainous terrain. They occur at a broad range of magnitudes and frequencies and form an integral part of the long-term destruction of mountain areas. To human societies, such phenomena may result in risks and even disasters, having triggered a huge bulk of research on landslide hazard and risk analyses. However, landslides may also represent significant natural and cultural heritage and offer services to society, aspects that are under-researched and may be included in the yet rather scarcely used concept of geosystem services. In this context, landslides also help us to learn how Earth surface systems are functioning. UNESCO Global Geoparks represent ideal environments of exploring and highlighting geosystem services related to landslides, particularly in Austria where the three existing UNESCO Global Geoparks (Karawanken/Karavanke, Erz der Alpen, Steirische Eisenwurzen) are characterized by the occurrence of a broad range of landslide types and magnitudes.
On this basis, the objectives of the movemont.at project are defined as follows:
We will elaborate an integrated theoretical framework considering landslide processes and their ecological and societal relevance in a comprehensive way, including chances and risks over various scales in time and space. In this context, we will pick up the concept of geosystem services, which has repeatedly appeared in the literature as a spin-off term of the more broadly employed ecosystem services, but not yet come into more widespread use.
We will map and characterize the landslides in each of the involved UNESCO Global Geoparks, using a common methodology and exploiting existing databases, as a basis for the further steps. We will investigate the importance of landslides with regard to biodiversity, including their role for hosting rare or endangered plant and animal species, but also for microbial diversity in the soils. We will further investigate the role landslides play for the development of karst landforms and their investigation: large landslides reset surficial karstification in the affected area and can therefore be used to analyze rates of karren formation, given that the landslide age is known. We will use the Wildalpen rock avalanche as case study in this context.
We will develop an integrated tool set for the GIS-based modelling of landslide preconditioning and dynamics, considering a broad range of process types, temporal and spatial scales. Thereby, we focus on broad-scale analysis of stress distribution in mountains and its role for slope stability, and on the simulation of the dynamics of slow-moving mass flows and complex deep-seated landslides and slope deformations - fields which have yet been rarely considered in operational GIS-based landslide modelling tools. The models and tools to be developed - along with existing models and tools - will be coupled to visualization interfaces tailored for environmental education, e.g., enabling immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences.
We will merge all the research outcomes to develop and implement strategies to better use landslide phenomena for environmental education, employing the involved UNESCO Global Geoparks as pilot areas. Feedback loops between universities, geoparks, and the public will ensure a well-concerted and targeted research and transdisciplinary knowledge integration. The latter will include exhibitions with physical (e.g., 3D models) and virtual (e.g., immersive VR) elements, guided tours, workshops with schools, and the installation of monitoring systems for demonstration purposes. As landslides often represent spectacular phenomena creating remarkable landforms, we consider them suitable for generating enthusiasm for geo-scientific topics among people of different ages and social backgrounds, and therefore useful for demonstrating complex geomorphological systems and their interaction with biological and societal systems. In a broad sense, the project will contribute to an increased resilience of mountain societies with regard to landslide processes in the context of global change.
The movemont.at project will be organized into five strongly interlinked work packages, each of them associated to one of the objectives. It will be implemented by an interdisciplinary team of scientists of the University of Graz and the University of Salzburg, and environmental education specialists from the three involved UNESCO Global Geoparks. The project will be embedded into the international research and geopark landscapes through various collaborations.
See who is involved in the project.
The movemont.at project is implemented by an inter- and transdisciplinary team of scientists and geopark practitioners.
Dr. Christian Bauer
Institute of Geography and Regional Science, University of Graz
This collection of animated r.avaflow simulation results shows different levels of VR integration, from ordinary oblique views to anaglyph and stereo 3D animations which allow a more realistic 3D impression with special, but still affordable and easy to obtain, glasses. The stereo 3D animations require an Android smartphone along with the YouTube App and a cardboard or similar device to be properly viewed. The QR code below allows to directly access the corresponding movemont.at playlist.
High-level VR integration of r.avaflow simulation results, including immersive VR gaming experiences, are under development. First ideas and findings are summarized in an abstract (Mergili et al., 2023) to be presented at the EGU General Assembly 2023.
Stereo 3D animation
Prehistoric Wildalpen Landslide, Austria
Large rock avalanche in the Steirische Eisenwurzen UNESCO Global Geopark
Prehistoric Köfels Landslide, Austria
Giant rock slide in the Tyrol, largest known landslide in Austria
2022 Laguna Upiscocha Glacial Lake Outburst Flood, Peru
Landslide-triggered GLOF in the Cordillera Vilcanota in southern Peru
Read about the latest developments and case studies.
Mergili, M., Pfeffer, H., Köstner, J., Gosch, L., Kellerer-Pirklbauer, A., Eulenstein, J., Gulas, O. (2023): Immersive virtual reality gaming for geoeducation: proof-of-concept for the prehistoric Wildalpen Rock Avalanche, Austria. EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria: EGU23-2743.