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Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences

Chair of geomorphology - Professor Dr. Oliver Sass

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Sediment Budgets and Dynamics

Sediment transport in mountain and highland catchment areas is an essential part of the geomorphological process cascade, represents an important natural hazard (debris flows, supersaturated floods) and causes severe problems in river systems. We investigate sediment budgets of alpine and pre-alpine catchments, which quantify sediment transport, sources and sinks. One of our central research questions is the response of sediment loads in small catchments to climate change.
Our frequently used methods are near-surface geophysics (georadar, geoelectrics, seismic refraction), multitemporal surface models from laser scans and aerial photographs as well as sediment sensors for the detection of bedload transport.


  • Sedyn-X: Interdisciplinary sediment flux research in the Johnsbach valley, Austria (funded by FWF; Lead: O. Sass)
  • RunSed-CC: Modelling runoff and sediment yield in a mountain catchment under climate change conditions (funded by Austrian Climate and Research Program; Lead: O. Sass)
    Link to projectpage
  • Das verborgene Eis der Pasterze - Quantifizierung und Monitoring von Toteisvorkommen im Gletschervorfeld des größten Gletschers Österreichs (funded by Glockner ÖkoFonds, Co- Lead: J. Götz)
  • Postglacial Evolution of Lake Taferlklaussee, Upper Austria (funded by the State Govt. of Upper Austria, Dept. of Nature Conservation, Lead: J. Götz)

Exemplary Publications:

  • Rascher, E., Rindler, R., Sass, O. & H. Habersack (2018): Impacts of gravel mining and renaturation measures on the sediment flux and budget in an alpine catchment (Johnsbach Valley, Austria). Geomorphology 318: 404-420.
  • Pomper, J., Salcher, B.C., Eichkitz, C., Prasicek, G., Lang, A., Lindner, M. & J. Götz (2017): The glacially overdeepened trough of the Salzach Valley, Austria: Bedrock geometry and sedimentary fill of a major Alpine subglacial basin. – Geomorphology 295: 147-158. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.07.009
  • Seier, G., Stangl, J., Schöttl, S. Sulzer, W. & O. Sass (2017): UAV and TLS for monitoring a creek in an alpine environment, Styria, Austria. International Journal of Remote Sensing, DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2016.1277045.
  • Rascher, E. & O. Sass (2017): Evaluating sediment dynamics in tributary trenches in an alpine catchment (Johnsbachtal, Austria) using multi-temporal terrestrial laser scanning. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, Suppl.Vol. 61: 27-52. doi: 10.1127/zfg_suppl/2016/0358.
  • Stangl, J. Rascher, E. & O. Sass (2016): Comparative analysis of sediment routing in two different alpine catchments. In: Beylich, A.A., Dixon, J.C., Zwolinski, Z. (eds.): Source-to-sink fluxes in Undisturbed Cold Environments. Cambridge: University Press, 362-375.
  • Götz, J., Otto, J.-C. & L. Schrott (2013): Postglacial sediment storage and rockwall retreat in a semi-closed inner-alpine sedimentary basin (Gradenmoos, Hohe Tauern, Austria). - Geografia Fisica e Dinamica Quaternaria Vol. 36/1: 63-80. DOI: 10.4461/GFDQ.2013.36.5
  • Götz, J., Geilhausen, M. & L. Schrott (2010): Zur Interpretation rezenter Sedimentflüsse in einem paraglazialen Kontext - mit einem Vorschlag zur Inwertsetzung geomorphologischer Forschung. In: Otto, J.-C. & L. Schrott (Hrsg.): Quantifizierung von rezenten und postglazialen Sedimentflüssen in den Ostalpen. Salzburger Geographische Arbeiten, Band 46: 43-63.
  • Schrott, L., Götz, J., Geilhausen, M. & D. Morche (2006): Spatial and temporal varibility of sediment transfer and storage in an Alpine basin (Bavarian Alps, Germany). - Geographica Helvetica 61, H. 3: 191-200. DOI: 10.5194/gh-61-191-2006

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