Landslides and avalanches impact people living in mountainous regions around the world. Typically, the regions affected are restricted in geographical area relative to other hazards, such as tsunamis or hurricanes. However, for people living in the path of landslides or avalanches, the impacts can be costly and/or deadly.

Avalanche in Juneau, AK – at times, avalanches in Juneau have damaged transmission lines supplying hydroelectric power to Juneau, forcing the city to rely on much more expensive power options:


Science Topics and Resources for Landslide and avalanche Hazards:

Week 1 – Basic science  follow the steps below to learn the basics. Week 1 assignments are given in the Case Study 1 page

1)Watch a brief video about basic soil properties, angle of repose, cohesion, and water-saturation:

2) Read the following information about landslide and avalanche processes and hazards:

3) Watch the following videos about Landslide Hazards

  • USGS Volcano Web Shorts: Volcanic Debris Flows

  • Debris Flows in Colorado:

3) Read about Basic Avalanche Science from the Forest Service National Avalanche Center– Read one of  “The Basics” sections  tailored to skiers or snowmobiling (your choice).  Read  all of the Skills sections. This site also provides a moveable map with current avalanche conditions around the US! Check it out!

Disclaimer! This site offers a great overview about what triggers avalanches in the backcountry and how to assess risk due to current conditions. However, it is NOT a substitute for taking an appropriate Avalanche Safety course in person. Venture into the backcountry at your own risk! Please read and understand the following disclaimer from the website:  “If you want to develop the skills you need to survive in Planet Avalanche…this is the place to start; but it is very important that you also take an avalanche class before you head into the backcountry!!!

Avalanches 101


Week 2: Monitoring and mitigation – follow the steps below to learn the basics. Week 1 assignments are given in the Case Study 1 page

1) Read the Real-Time Monitoring of Landslides information sheet from the USGS

2) Read about new methods in real-time Avalanche monitoring in this Science Daily article

3) Read about using snow stability studies used for monitoring and predicting avalanches in this Science Daily Article.

4) There are no online simulation games that I know of that cover landslide or avalanche hazards similarly to Stop Disasters. Navigate to the Case Study 1 page, play Stop Disasters! for another Hazard Topic (about 30 minutes), and then come up with ideas of how you could create a Stop Disasters! module for landslide or avalanches.


Week 3  and Case Study Report – Assignment is given on the Case Study 1 and 2 pages. For Case Study 2, you are required to provide one additional paragraph comparing and contrasting your two case studies disasters.


GEOS 380