Challenges addressed

Permafrost degradation is a widespread phenomenon impacting mountain ranges all over the globe. Increasing instabilities are posing unprecedented hazard to the livelihoods and properties of remote populations. With increasing stress from climate change and expanding human activities in remote areas, rock falls are continuously growing in magnitude and frequency. Existing methods are proving insufficient in assessing dangers associated with the rapid and profound impact of climate change and permafrost degradation affecting high mountain ranges. Within this project, the researchers will develop and apply a numerical modelling method to Mont-Fort and Pointes de Mourti in Valais in order to assess the degrading permafrost rock wall and their associated hazards.


  • Production of high-quality rendered animations to communicate with large audiences via outreach activities, social media, blog posts as well as traditional and digital media.
  • The scientific content will be disseminated through conferences, workshops and the publication of an open-access peer-reviewed article, freely accessible to the public.

What are the expected outputs of this project?

  • Combine the model with detailed characterization of permafrost slope to simulation two full-scale cases: Mont-Fort and Pointe de Mourti, Valais, CH
  • Develop a numerical modelling method to simulate the behaviour of degrading permafrost rock walls and their stability
  •  Improve society’s understanding of slope stability and associated hazards and societal implications in high mountain environments


  • Q1

    Demonstration of 2D and 3D mechanic simulation of an idealized real-scale permafrost slope

  • Q2

    Simulations with thermo-mechanical coupling, heterogeneity, and weak surfaces

  • Q3

    Simulation of future scenarios of instabilities in the field test sites

  • Q4

    Publication of the simulation methodology and research results


This project is funded by CLIMACT

Principal investigators

Prof. Johan Gaume


Dr Christophe Lambiel


Sustainable Development Goals

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