“Sediment Dynamics in high-mountain Environments”

Summer School on Geomorphology (SSOG) in the Kaunertal Valley, Austria


Date and duration:        31.08.-06.09.2015

Venue:                           Karlsspitze, Appartmenthaus with conference facilities

Location:                       Feichten in the Kaunertal, Austria

Organized by:               Jan Blöthe (University Bonn), David Morche (University Halle),

                         Sabine Kraushaar and Ronald Pöppl (University Vienna)

Funded by:                    Volkswagen Stiftung

The overarching theme of sediment dynamics has gained increasing importance with the rapid retreat of alpine glaciers that exposes large amounts of unconsolidated sediments and over-steepened rock walls to surface processes in these highly dynamic mountain environments. In this regard sediment dynamics in alpine areas have to be better understood and quantified, providing a valuable database for land and river management on the one hand, and protection against natural hazards on the other hand.


Registration closed

Thanks to the numerous interests in the Summer School on Geomorphology. 121 applications reached us and are momentarily screened by the organisational committee. The final decision on the participation will reach the applicants around mid of July. Thank you for your patience.


Under the unifying theme of sediment dynamics that also touches neighboring disciplines, such as geology, geochemistry, biology and environmental sciences, the SSOG  seeks to educate the participants in an enthralling interdisciplinary and international environment. In a combination of a hands-on field learning approach and indoor data analysis workshops the summer school will:

  • provide the participants with state of the art theory and concepts behind modern sediment dynamics research by internationally renowned expert.
  • introduce the participants to advanced methods at the interface between geosciences, hydrology, physics, and biology, such as geophysics, terrestrial laserscanning (TLS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), biogeomorphic field techniques, and hydrological discharge measurements
  • enhance the participants’ capabilities to handle, statistically analyze, and interpret large sets of environmental data
  • strengthen the participants’ holistic view on the analysis of complex geo-eco systems that are subject to change
  • provide an interdisciplinary perspective for the participants necessary to approach scientific problems in the field.

We are confident that SSOG will enable early career scientists to connect with other young researchers and establish contacts with key players in geomorphic research and thus build an international network for their future.

Teaching Methods

In a combination of keynote talks, hands-on field practices and data processing and analysis workshops, the SSOG will address key concepts, state of the art methodology, and advanced data processing in sediment dynamics research. In the study area of the upper Kaunertal valley, the participants are introduced to novel methods such:

  • as 3D near surface geophysics,
  • terrestrial laserscanning,
  • unmanned aerial vehicle, and
  • advanced data processing and analysis.

There will be 2.5 days in the field and 2 days lectures in the seminar room.

Keynote Speakers

We are very happy that the following renowned scientist will join the summer school:

  • Prof. Stuart Lane, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Prof. James Kirchner, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Department of Environmental Systems Science, Switzerland
  • Prof. Ellen Wohl, Colorado State University, Department of Geomorphology, USA
  • Prof. Lorenzo Borselli, Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosí, Mexico
  • Prof. Matthias Hinderer, Technical University of Darmstadt, Institute of Applied Geosciences, Germany
  • Prof. Oliver Sass, University of Graz, Austria
  • Prof. Michael Krautblatter, University of Munich, Germany
  • Dr. Andreas Paul Zischg, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Dr. Kristen Cook, GFZ Potsdam, Germany

Preliminary Program

Monday 31.08.2015

Arrival until 17:00

Tuesday 01.09.2015

  • Lecture: State of the art sediment budget research: Methods and Trends
  • Lecture: Sediment connectivity and sediment travel times: conceptual background and applications
  • Lecture: Biogeomorphic engineers: How vegetation influences sediment fluxes
  • Reconnaissance field trip to key locations in the Kaunertal

Wednesday 02.09.2015

  • Field day workshops:
    • Workshop: Laserscanning: Sediment mobility on the proglacial braidplain
    • Workshop: Biogeomorphology: Vegetation succession and bioengineers as earth surface shapers on braidplains
    • Workshop: Ground penetrating radar (GPR): Depositional sequences of braidplains
  • Data Processing A

Thursday 03.09.2015

  • Data processing A (continued)
  • Field day workshops:
    • Workshop: Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT): Thickness of sediments in braidplains
    • Workshop: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs): Orthophoto and DEM generation, talus sediment storage
    • Workshop: Water and sediment discharge measurements: Flow velocity, sediment concentration, and bedload transport of the Fagge River

Friday 04.09.2015

  • Lecture: Sediment Budgets: What are they good for?
  • Data processing B
  • Evening Workshop: Authoring and Reviewing Scientific Articles

Saturday 05.09.2015

  • Data processing B (continued)
  • Lecture: Societal implications of sediment dynamics in an alpine environment
  • Workshop: The basics of risk assessment in alpine environments

 Sunday 06.09.2015

  • Workshop: Statistical analysis of environmental data: Problems and pitfalls
  • Departure


This summer school is designed for international young aspiring scientists (well-motivated advanced graduate students, PhDs, and post-docs) from the field of geosciences.

The applicants are asked to send:

  • a short curriculum vitae together with
  • a concise motivation letter (500 words max.), outlining their current scientific work and how they will benefit from visiting the SSOG.

Please use this application form and send it to ssog@giub.uni-bonn.de no later than June 25, 2015.

Final selection of successful candidates will be performed by the organization committee, joined by an experienced professor in geomorphology and aims at a balanced selection of gender, origin and career stage of the participants aside their qualifications and interest. Furthermore, it will be made sure that participants come from a diverse set of geoscientific backgrounds to foster the interdisciplinary exchange. The committee seeks to accept 7 international and 7 European (other than German and Austrian) participants, though priority will be given to German and Austrian applicants (21).

Professional child care is funded and will be provided during the event. Thus, we want to especially encourage applications of young parents.

The maximum number of participants is limited to 35 persons.


Travel, accommodation, food, classes and lecture material are free of charge for every selected participant!


The upper Kaunertal valley has been the subject of a major research project investigating proglacial sediment dynamics during the past 4 years, making it the perfect location for a summer school with a strong focus on hands-on teaching in the field.

In the village of Feichten we will have the inside lectures, hotel and meals (breakfast and dinners).

This will be the accomondation: http://www.karlspitze.at/

As participants you will sleep in shared rooms in a shared apartment.

The restaurant: http://www.kirchenwirt.com/de/

The conference venue is in the city hall of Feichten