Dr Irene Manzella

Dr Irene Manzella

Lecturer in Engineering Geology

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


Lecturer in Engineering Geology


Ph.D. (2008), Rock Mechanics Laboratory, Civil Engineering Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.

Master of advanced study (2002) in Settlements upgrading for cooperation and development, Politecnico di Milano, Faculty of Architecture.

M.Sc. and B.Sc. (2001, old Italian 5 years degree), Environmental and Territorial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano. Major: ‘Difesa del suolo’, i.e. hydro-geological engineering, rock, soil and fluid mechanics with application to geo-hazards.

Previous Appointments
Université de Genève: Geneva, Switzerland, Department of Earth Sciences. Maître-Assistante/ Senior Research and Teaching Associate(2012-2017)

Geological Survey of Norway, NGU, Trondheim. Visiting Researcher (October 2016).

Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans (Clermont-Ferrand, France). Visiting Researcher (August-September 2015)

Université de Genève: Geneva, Switzerland, Department of Earth Sciences. Post-doc (2009-2011)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Cambridge, MA, United States, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Visiting researcher (august 2010) and Postdoctoral fellow (July-December 2008)

Professional membership

Fellow of the Geological Society of London

Teaching interests

My experience and background has given me solid basis for teaching theoretical subjects such as rock and soil mechanics, fluid and granular dynamics and more practical ones such as engineering geology, geological risk and hazards, with a particular interest in landslides. 

I am module leader of:
- GEOL 3010 Engineering Geology 

I co-teach and participate in the following modules:
- GEES1001PP Natural Hazards
- GEOL1005 Geological Maps and Structural Geology
- GEOL3002 Earth Science Independent Research Project and Professional Skills
- GEOL3001 Geological Mapping Research Project and Professional Skills
- GEOL2003 Geospatial Techniques

Research interests

Study of geophysical fluid and granular flow dynamics processes with a multi-disciplinary approach, through analogue and numerical modelling. Hazard and risk assessment of landslide and volcanic phenomena, e.g. debris flows and rock avalanches, lahars and tephra fallout.

Key publications are highlighted

Baumann V, Bonadonna C, Cuomo S, Moscariello M & Manzella I 2018 'Slope stability models for rainfall-induced lahars during long-lasting eruptions' Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research , DOI PEARL
Scollo S, Bonadonna C & Manzella I 2017 'Settling-driven gravitational instabilities associated with volcanic clouds: new insights from experimental investigations' Bulletin of Volcanology 79, (6) , DOI PEARL
Bonadonna C, Cioni R, Costa A, Druitt T, Phillips J, Pioli L, Andronico D, Harris A, Scollo S 2016 'MeMoVolc report on classification and dynamics of volcanic explosive eruptions' Bulletin of Volcanology 78, (11) , DOI PEARL
Longchamp C, Abellan A, Jaboyedoff M & Manzella I 2016 '3-D models and structural analysis of rock avalanches: the study of the deformation process to better understand the propagation mechanism' Earth Surface Dynamics 4, (3) 743-755 , DOI PEARL
Manzella I, Bonadonna C, Phillips JC & Monnard H 2015 'The role of gravitational instabilities in deposition of volcanic ash' Geology 43, (3) 211-214 , DOI PEARL
Bagheri GH, Bonadonna C, Manzella I & Vonlanthen P 2015 'On the characterization of size and shape of irregular particles' Powder Technology 270, 141-153 , DOI
Bagheri GH, Bonadonna C, Manzella I, Pontelandolfo P & Haas P 2013 'Dedicated vertical wind tunnel for the study of sedimentation of non-spherical particles' Review of Scientific Instruments 84, (5) 054501-054501 , DOI
Manzella I & Labiouse V 2012 'Empirical and analytical analyses of laboratory granular flows to investigate rock avalanche propagation' Landslides 10, (1) 23-36 , DOI
Valentine GA, Bonadonna C, Manzella I, Clarke A & Dellino P 2011 'Large‐Scale Experiments on Volcanic Processes' Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 92, (11) 89-90 , DOI
Manzella I & Labiouse V 2009 'Flow experiments with gravel and blocks at small scale to investigate parameters and mechanisms involved in rock avalanches' Engineering Geology 109, (1-2) 146-158 , DOI
Manzella I & Labiouse V 2007 'Qualitative Analysis of Rock Avalanches Propagation by Means of Physical Modelling of Non-Constrained Gravel Flows' Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering 41, (1) 133-151 , DOI
Conference Papers
Vagnon F, Pirulli M, Manzella I, Kelfoun K & Ferrero AM 2018 'Numerical analysis of the rheological behaviour of the Socompa debris avalanche, Chile' 785-790 PEARL
Manzella I, Penna I, Kelfoun K & Jaboyedoff M 2016 'High-mobility of unconstrained rock avalanches: Numerical simulations of a laboratory experiment and an Argentinian event' 1345-1352
Manzella I, Einstein HH & Grasselli G 2013 'DEM and FEM/DEM modelling of granular flows to investigate large debris avalanche propagation' 247-253 , DOI
Galderisi A, Bonadonna C, Delmonaco G, Ferrara FF, Menoni S, Ceudech A, Biass S, Frischknecht C, Manzella I 2013 'Vulnerability assessment and risk mitigation: The case of Vulcano Island, Italy' 55-64 , DOI
Manzella I & Labiouse V 2010 'Physical modelling to better understand rock avalanches' 1259-1265
Einstein HH, Sousa RL, Karam K, Manzella I & Kveldsvik V 2010 'Rock slopes from mechanics to decision making' 3-+
Manzella I & Labiouse V 2008 'Extension of the fringe projection method to measure shape and position of the centre of mass of granular flow deposit' 4547-4554