The ENGAGE working group (Geomorphological Systems and Risk Research at the Institute for Geography and Regional Research) at the University of Vienna has been running a long-term monitoring project to investigate landslides in Lower Austria since 2015.
These investigations are part of the NoeSLIDE project, created in 2014 in close cooperation between the University of Vienna and the Federal State Government of Lower Austria.
Over the last few years further collaborations have been established; the cooperation partners include the Federal Geological Institute of Austria (GBA), the Torrent and Avalanche Control (WLV) as well as University of Heidelberg and the Technical University of Vienna.
Landslides are among the most frequently occurring natural hazards in Lower Austria, while at the same time detailed knowledge about spatio-temporal slope dynamics is very rudimentary. In order to quantify the basic dynamics and the changes, a long-term monitoring system including punctual and areal surface and subsurface data are necessary.
The Core Facility "Earth Surface Dynamics Lab (eSurfLab)" of the Department of Geography and Regional Research is an essential contribution to this topic.
The original NoeSLIDE project ran until 2017 and was extended until 2019. Follow-up financing of the monitoring locations is still to be guaranteed through future projects, but “NoeSLIDE” will continue to be used as the project name.
The initial research sites of the project included an earth flow (Eckerwirt) and a complex landslide (Hofermühle) near Konradsheim in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, a deep seated landslide near Brandstatt, areas affected by rockfall and tipping at the Ofenlochstrasse and the Amtmann natural monument near Opponitz - also in the district of Waidhofen an der Ybbs - as well as a landslide in Gresten (Scheibbs district), which has been active regularly for 40 years. The sites "Brandstatt", “Hofermühle” and “Gresten” are currently actively being investigated; the investigation of the other locations have been completed. In the spring and summer of 2022, various underground and surface monitoring systems (Brandstatt site) were installed in Brandstatt, which will continue to be expanded over the next few years“.
In addition to the analysis of connections between flow, fall and slide activities with triggering factors such as precipitation, one focus of the project is on the development and testing of new types of investigation techniques for geo-monitoring. Therefore, in addition to traditional methods such as the installation of inclinometers, methods such as continuous terrestrial laser scanning and permanent geoelectric are used. Another goal of the project is to create a web-based platform that graphically visualizes the incoming data and allows the measured data to be analysed quickly and easily. It is envisioned that these tools would provide vital data to ensure a fast response by authorities should any of the landslides pose a risk to people or infrastructure.
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Glade