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Improved understanding of the Vaiont landslide based on refined modelling using updated geological information

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

About the Project

The Vaiont landslide occurred in 1963 in northern Italy and has perplexed researchers ever since. Recently, however, new geological information and interpretations have led to an entirely new framework for understanding the event. We are now in a position to investigate the detailed controls on the occurrence of the landslide and to reliably assess the associated uncertainties. This project will utilise 2D and 3D stability analyses to establish the sensitivity of controlling parameters, the relative influences of groundwater and external reservoir levels (including the true Critical Pool level), and the effects of data resolution, on the calculated stability of the landslide. These results will enable the determination of the most likely overall slope conditions that gave rise to the failure. A further critical element of this project is to analyse the rainfall in terms of long-term records for the region in order to quantify the statistical significance of the rainfall during 1960-63 and, thus, estimate the magnitudes of groundwater responses within the mountain slope compared with likely long-term variations.

Applicants should ideally have an MSc in Engineering Geology or Applied Geomorphology or similar, otherwise it is essential to have an Engineering BSc or BEng with a substantial geotechnics or modelling component.

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project: applications can only be accepted from self-funded candidates


Genevois R, Prestininzi A (eds) (2013) International Conference on Vajont – 1963-2013: Thoughts and analyses after 50 years since the catastrophic landslide. Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment – Book Series No.6. Sapienza Università Editrice, Rome.

Hendron AJ, Patton FD (1985) The Vaiont slide, a geotechnical analysis based on new geologic observations of the failure surface. US Army Corps of Engineering Technical Report GL-85-5 (2 volumes). Available at: (Vol. 1), (Vol. 2).

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