Abstract of the ALERT Special Lecture 2019

Growth of slip surfaces (life is dangerous)

Alexander M. Puzrin, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Growing slip surfaces are commonly encountered in the mechanisms of many natural geo-hazards, such as earthquakes, landslides, snow avalanches, tsunamis, etc.. The talk will explore the basic mechanics of progressive and catastrophic slip surface growth in a slope using recent advances in experimental, analytical and numerical approaches. Importance of the proper understanding of this phenomenon will be illustrated via the following three novel applications: (i) defining influence zones for terrestrial landslides, (ii) relating geomorphology of submarine landslides to their tsunami generating potential, and (iii) exploring plausibility of a delayed release for earthquake-triggered snow avalanches. In the process, it will be demonstrated how the slip surface growth can negatively affect life of an ordinary citizen.

Alexander M. Puzrin is Professor and Chair of Geotechnical Engineering at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He is engaged in the constitutive modeling of geomaterials and the analysis of progressive and catastrophic failure in soils, with applications to onshore and offshore slope stability problems.  His other interests are in development of novel sensor technologies for geotechnical monitoring and in assessment and mitigation of geotechnical eco-hazards. Professor Puzrin has been involved as an expert and consultant in large-scale onshore and offshore geotechnical projects in the UK, the US, Switzerland, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Israel. His research papers received multiple awards from the UK Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). He served as the Editor of Géotechnique in 2012–2015.