Research at the IAG is motivated by an interest in observing and quantifying changes in human habitat as well as the use of georesources, with a research focus on but not limited to Austria.

Working groups investigate geohazards such as landslides, rates of environmental change during the Quaternary using geochronological methods, environmental changes of the geosphere, the sustainable use of georesources such as clay minerals, rocks or geothermal energy, and a wide variety of engineering geology issues.

The laboratory facilities are extensively equipped for clay mineralogical analyses, optical luminescence age determinations, and cosmogenic nuclide extraction. A GIS and modeling laboratory consisting of servers, workstations, and specialized software is available for numerical modeling and simulation of geological, geomechanical and hydrogeological processes. High-precision measurements of terrain surfaces and their deformations are performed with a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) and/or a ground-based InSAR as well as by various UAV systems (photogrammetry, infrared imaging).

Latest SCI publications

Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-06-15 - 2025-06-14

Archeology has traditionally placed emphasis on the study of human processes, assuming the continuity in the settlement as a phenomenon proper to the occupation of space. Discontinuities have received less attention. However, regions with low population pressure, geographically marginal with respect to the most recurrently occupied areas, as is the case of central-western Patagonia (Aisén Region), are characterized by discontinuities in human occupation. Discontinuities are not the same in terms of characteristics and extension, some even lasting millennia. This phenomenon has been identified at the spatial scales of archaeological sites and localities; however, a detailed study of a regional scale is needed to address the mechanisms and characteristics of the discontinuities throughout 12,000 years of history. This project will use the concept of exploration within the framework of an evolutionary archeology as it allows recognizing the role of information networks between individuals in the incorporation of new spaces and proposes that, given the prolonged and repeated discontinuities in the occupation of central-western Patagonia, its exploration was not a single process, but rather corresponded to a multidimensional phenomenon. With this objective in mind, open steppe areas, high-altitude sectors, periglacial environments, and closed forests will be evaluated as they are all margin areas where the archaeological record would be expected to preserve actions associated with exploration contexts. In spatial terms, explicit analytical scales will be used in data retrieval at the site, locality, and regional levels. In temporal terms, given the characteristic discontinuity of human occupation, it will seek to define chronological gaps as a starting point to evaluate the archaeological data sets. Different dating methods will be applied for defining the occupational redundancy at the site and locality level as well as the periods of occupation of the sites. The archaeological record will allow the comprehensive study of the directionality of the flows of goods, the ranges of action, the organization of technology and the strategies of subsistence and mobility through time.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-01-01 - 2025-06-30

Landslides cause fatalities and considerable loss each year in mountainous regions. With progressing climate change factors affecting landslides are projected to change in frequency and magnitude. CAUTION will focus on different landslide types and it is expected that climate change will influence the landslides processes due to glacier retreat, permafrost degradation, slope foot erosion due to flooding, extreme precipitation and snow melt periods, as well as extreme temperature fluctuations. Regarding possible adverse effects of mountain hazards to communities, exposure assessment poses particular challenges in climate change research, in policy development and governance. Thus, CAUTION will focus on exposure of societies affected by landslides on a local level, and determining the physical, economic, institutional and social aspects as well as the interactions between these. It will allow quantifying ex-post the spatio-temporal dynamics of exposure taking specific landslide types as an example as well as an ex-ante scenario-building to allow for identifying possible future risk pathways on a local and regional level. CAUTION is on the cutting edge of multiple disciplines (geosciences, climate sciences, economics, political sciences, disaster management) and develops deeper insights into the human-environment dimension of hazard management in mountain areas, and as such into an integrative assessment of climate change adaptation. The project will advance our understanding i) of critical meteorological conditions triggering landslides, and on how climate change will modify those mountain hazards, ii) on hazard and risk assessment strategies, as well as forecast capabilities, iii) on exposure of societies affected by landslides on a local level, by determining the physical, economic, institutional and social aspects as well as the interactions between these. Beside CAUTION will foster the collaboration and engagement between the scientific community and policy stakeholders.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-07-01 - 2024-06-30

DRAGON is a follow-up project to VIGILANS and addresses the open questions that arose from VIGILANS to achieve an improved hazard analysis of slow slope movements for society. To determine the hazard potential of different deformation types, the depth and geometry of the fracture surface (sliding surface) is determined using the vector inclination method (VIM) based on 3D motion vectors obtained by combining 2D InSAR data (Sentinel-1 and TerraSAR-X) with ground-based InSAR data (GB-InSAR). In addition, Envisat and Sentinel-1 analyses are used to retrospectively determine the slope deformation trajectories for the two selected active slope movements (Steinlenen & Malgrube, Tyrol) for the past twenty years. This allows to assess whether the documented spontaneous rockfall events are directly coupled to the progressive failure of the large slope movements. Time series analyses will identify potential acceleration phases and will be compared with meteorological data series. Due to the known, complex motion behavior of deep-seated slope deformations, it is important to adopt a research approach that integrates multiple technologies and platforms. DRAGON combines for the first time satellite data with ground-based remote sensing (GB-InSAR, TLS, tacheometry, drone photogrammetry) and in situ measurements (D-GNSS, convergence measurements, seismic monitoring). The goal is to create a three-dimensional kinematic model for the two large slope movements that is as accurate as possible and reflects the results of the different measurements and also allows a forecast of the further course of the slope failure. The results form an important contribution to the process understanding of deep slope deformations and can be applied to a large number of mass movements of this type.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations