Project title: Propagation of volcanic and non-volcanic landslides: a combined field, experimental and numerical approach
Director of Studies: Dr Irene Manzella
2nd Supervisor: Dr Paul Cole
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2018.
Mass flows such as rock avalanches, debris flows and lahars, can travel large distances destroying everything they encounter. However to date they are poorly understood as the interaction between the solid and fluid phases is highly complex and they can undergo a continuous rheology transition according to the variation of granular material fraction, composition and grain-size along the slope. Therefore, from a hazard-assessment perspective, it becomes extremely important to improve our understanding of the propagation and emplacement of these flows and to develop dedicated models that are efficient in predicting their runout.
The PhD student would address the following fundamental questions:
a) Which are the parameters influencing propagation?
b) Is there any difference between volcanic and non-volcanic flow behaviour?
c) Which models are the most effective in a predictive perspective?
This project will involve field work and a series of granular flow laboratory experiments to study the effects of volume, material characteristics, water content and topography on mobility and emplacement mechanisms.
Field work will involve mapping and sample collection of historic events in volcanic (Cotopaxi, Ecuador) and in non-volcanic environments (Valle d’Aosta, Italy). The PhD student will then work on the comparison of different type of codes validating and comparing them on well-constrained field cases study and analogue experiments.
The results obtained with this multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach will represent a breakthrough in this field giving a new insight into the dynamic of these complex flows and contributing in a radical improvement of the assessment of the related risk.