EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A Rockfall inventory: Ötztal Alps, Tyrol, Austria

Bettina Knoflach, Hannah Tussetschläger, Rudolf Sailer, Gertraud Meißl, and Johann Stötter
Bettina Knoflach et al.
  • Innsbruck, Geography, Austria (

Climate change has serious implications for the cryosphere and a close relationship between the instability of rock faces and the changes in high mountain permafrost is suspected. Although, the number of rockfall events in Alpine areas is increasing, detailed analyses of the frequency and runout distances in high altitudes are rare. This study gives an insight into the rockfall activity in the Ötztal Alps in Tyrol, Austria. A systematic observation utilizing bi-temporal ALS-DTMs in combination with orthoimages revealed a total of 93 rockfalls over an area of 637 km² in the period from 2006 to 2010. Since more than 90 % of the rockfall release areas were mapped in potential permafrost areas, a correlation between rockfall activity and climatically driven degradation of permafrost in bedrock is very likely. 18 rockfall events, ranging in volume from 69 to 8420 m³, were suitable for runout assessments. To estimate the maximum range of future rockfalls with empirical models, values of 30 ° (Fahrböschung) and 26 ° (minimum shadow angle) can be proposed for risk assessment at a regional scale (1:25,000 – 1:100,000). Rockfalls occurring on snow or ice may also go below these values.

Keywords: Rockfall, Permafrost, digital elevation model; runout distance, Fahrböschung, minimum shadow angle, Ötztal Alps

How to cite: Knoflach, B., Tussetschläger, H., Sailer, R., Meißl, G., and Stötter, J.: A Rockfall inventory: Ötztal Alps, Tyrol, Austria, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5945,, 2020.

This abstract will not be presented.