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Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences

Chair of geomorphology - Professor Dr. Oliver Sass

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Sass_k2 Prof. Oliver Sass

Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences
Chair of geomorphology

In my geomorphological research I deal with weathering processes on rock faces (trigger mechanisms and quantification of rockfall) as well as on architectural monuments. I am particularly interested in the role of rock moisture and its measurement. My second focus is the quantification of erosion, sediment transport and deposition in small catchments and the associated sediment balances. In addition, I am interested in human-environment relationships (e.g. forest fires, natural hazards, water use) and try to explore the possible cooperations with neighbouring sciences.

Five exemplary publications:

  • Rascher, E., Rindler, R., Sass, O. & Habersack, H. (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.
  • Rode, M., Schnepfleitner, H. & Sass, O. (2016): Simulation of moisture content in alpine rock walls during freeze-thaw events. Earth surface processes and landforms 41: 1937–1950, DOI: 10.1002/esp.3961
  • Sass, O., Heel, M., Leistner, I., Stöger, F., Wetzel, K.-F. & Friedmann, A. (2012): Disturbance, geomorphic processes and regeneration of wildfire slopes in North Tyrol. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 37 (8): 883–889.
  • Sass, O. & Viles, H.A. (2010): Wetting and drying of masonry walls:  2D-resistivity monitoring of driving rain experiments on historic stonework in Oxford, UK. Journal of Applied Geophysics 70: 72-83.
  • Sass, O. (2007): Bedrock detection and talus thickness assessment in the European Alps using geophysical methods. Journal of Applied Geophysics 62: 254-269.

Short CV:

  • Since 12/2018: Professorship for Geomorphology, University of Bayreuth
  • 10/2009 – 11/2018: Professorship for Physical Geography, University of Graz
  • 02/2008 – 09/2009: Lise-Meitner Stipend, Institute of Geography, Innsbruck
  • 02/2007 – 01/2008: Scientific assistant (Postdoc), Institute of Geography, University of Cologne
  • 07/2007: Habilitation (Physical Geography); thesis: "Thickness and Structure of Alpine Slope Sediments Derived from Geophysical Investigations"
  • 02/2005 – 05/2005: British Royal Society stipend: School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
  • 05/2000 – 12/2006:  Research assistant (Postdoc), Institute of Geography, University of Augsburg
  • Aug. 1998 - Apr. 2000:  Extramural employment: expert on industrial waste deposits, Sakosta Euro Consult (Munich)
  • 07/1998: Graduation (Dr. rer. nat.); PhD thesis: "Die Steuerung von Steinschlagmenge und -verteilung durch Mikroklima, Gesteinsfeuchte und Gesteinseigenschaften im westlichen Karwendelgebirge"
  • 03/1995 – 02/1998: Praedoc assistant at the Institute of Geography, LMU Munich

Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences
Chair of geomorphology

  • Weathering and rockfall on alpine rockwalls
  • Weathering, rock moisture and salt distribution on cultural heritage sites
  • Alpine sediment budgets
  • Man-environment-interaction


  • „Rock traffic lights“ Saxonian Switzerland – Moisture distribution on sandstone massifs (starting 2019)
  • RunSed-CC - Modelling future runoff and sediment transport in alpine torrents (Climate and Energy Funds Austria, 2017 – 2019)
  • TEMOS – Temperature, moisture and salt distribution and their role in the decay of the Uplistsikhe cave settlement, Georgia (2017 – 2020, PhD project)
  • Drivers of land use change and water pressure in the Tafilalt oasis, Morocco (2016 – 2019, PhD project)
  • Economic and Ethical Consequences of natural Hazards in Alpine Valleys (EE-Con) (Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2015 – 2018)

Completed Projects (in selection)

  • Rocking Alps – Rockfall and Weathering in the Eastern Alps (2012 – 2015, FWF)
  • Sedyn-X – Interdisciplinary sediment flux research in the Johnsbach valley, Styria (2013 – 2016, FWF)
  • ClimCatch – Impact of climate change on the sediment yield of alpine catchments (2012 – 2015, Climate and Energy Funds Austria)

Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences
Chair of geomorphology



Khan, Saeed Akhtar; Doevenspeck, Martin; Sass, Oliver
Climate (im)mobilities in the Eastern Hindu Kush : The case of Lotkuh Valley, Pakistan
in Population and Environment volume 46 (2024)
doi:10.1007/s11111-023-00443-2 ...


Kamp, Nicole; Krenn, Paul; Avian, Michael; Sass, Oliver
Comparability of multi‐temporal DTMs derived from different LiDAR platforms: Error sources an ...
in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms volume 48 (2023) issue 6. - page 1152-1175
doi:10.1002/esp.5540 ...

Sass, Oliver; Bauer, Christian; Heil, Stefanie; Schnepfleitner, Harald; Kropf, Flora; Gaisberger, Christoph
Infrared thermography monitoring of rock faces : Potential and pitfalls
in Geomorphology volume 439 (2023)
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2023.108837 ...


Khan, Saeed Akhtar; Vanselow, Kim A.; Sass, Oliver; Samimi, Cyrus
Detecting abrupt change in land cover in the eastern Hindu Kush region using Landsat time serie ...
in Journal of Mountain Science volume 19 (2022) issue 6. - page 1699-1716
doi:10.1007/s11629-021-7297-y ...

Sass, Oliver; Viles, Heather
Heritage hydrology : a conceptual framework for understanding water fluxes and storage in built ...
in Heritage Science volume 10 (2022)
doi:10.1186/s40494-022-00693-7 ...

Sass, Oliver
Investigating rock moisture at a sandstone massif in the Saxonian Switzerland climbing area
in Journal of Geomorphology volume 1 (2022) issue 1. - page 25-41
doi:10.1127/jgeomorphology/2022/0711 ...

Weiss, Tomáš; Sass, Oliver
The challenge of measuring rock moisture : a laboratory experiment using eight types of sensors
in Geomorphology volume 416 (2022)
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2022.108430 ...

Lieb, Gerhard Karl; Sass, Oliver
Gesäuse: River Gorge, Limestone Massifs and Sediment Cascades
Landscapes and Landforms of Austria
Cham : Springer, 2022. - page 277-287
doi:10.1007/978-3-030-92815-5_18 ...

Matys Grygar, Tomáš; Hošek, Michal; Navrátil, Tomáš; Bednárek, Jan; Hönig, Jindřich; Elznicová, Jitka; Pacina, Jan; Rohovec, Jan; Sedláček, Jan; Sass, Oliver
Lessons Learnt from the Revitalisation of Chemical Factory in Marktredwitz and River Banks Down ...
in Water volume 14 (2022) issue 21
doi:10.3390/w14213481 ...

Pölzler, Thomas; Ortner, Florian; Meyer, Lukas H.; Sass, Oliver; Hofer, Miriam
Natural Hazards under Climate Change Conditions : A Case Study of Expectations and their Normat ...
in Natural Hazards Review volume 23 (2022) issue 2
doi:10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000543 ...


Egartner, Isabel; Sass, Oliver; Viles, Heather; Dietzel, Martin
A Multi Proxy Investigation of Moisture, Salt, and Weathering Dynamics on a Historic Urban Boun ...
in Studies in Conservation volume 65 (2020) issue 3. - page 172-188
doi:10.1080/00393630.2019.1628480 ...

Rode, Matthias; Sass, Oliver; Kellerer-Pirklbauer, Andreas; Schnepfleitner, Harald; Gitschthaler, Christoph
Permafrost distribution and conditions at the headwalls of two receding glaciers (Schladming an ...
in The Cryosphere volume 14 (2020) issue 4. - page 1173-1186
doi:10.5194/tc-14-1173-2020 ...


Sass, Oliver
Waldbrände in den Nordtiroler Kalkalpen : Verbreitung - Geschichte - Regeneration
Innsbruck : Geographie Innsbruck, 2019. - 218 page . - (Innsbrucker Geographische Studien; 41)


Rascher, Eric; Rindler, Rolf; Habersack, Helmut; Sass, Oliver
Impacts of gravel mining and renaturation measures on the sediment flux and budget in an alpine ...
in Geomorphology volume 318 (2018) . - page 404-420
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.07.009 ...

Schnepfleitner, Harald; Rode, Matthias; Sass, Oliver
Validation of simulated temperature profiles at rock walls in the Eastern Alps (Dachstein)
in Permafrost and Periglacial Processes volume 29 (2018) issue 1. - page 34-48
doi:10.1002/ppp.1962 ...


Rascher, Eric; Sass, Oliver
Evaluating sediment dynamics in tributary trenches in an alpine catchment (Johnsbachtal, Austri ...
in Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie : Supplementary Issues volume 61 (2017) issue 1. - page 27-52
doi:10.1127/zfg_suppl/2016/0358 ...

Sass, Oliver; Sarcletti, Sebastian
Patterns of long-term regeneration of forest fire slopes in the Northern European Alps : a logi ...
in Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography volume 99 (2017) issue 1. - page 56-71
doi:10.1080/04353676.2016.1263131 ...

Seier, Gernot; Stangl, Johannes; Schöttl, Stefan; Sulzer, Wolfgang; Sass, Oliver
UAV and TLS for monitoring a creek in an alpine environment, Styria, Austria
in International Journal of Remote Sensing volume 38 (2017) issue 8/10. - page 2903-2920
doi:10.1080/01431161.2016.1277045 ...


Stangl, Johannes; Rascher, Eric; Sass, Oliver
Comparative analysis of sediment routing in two different alpine catchments
Source-to-sink fluxes in Undisturbed Cold Environments
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2016. - page 364-377
doi:10.1017/CBO9781107705791.026 ...

Gingrich, Simone; Schmid, Martin; Dirnböck, Thomas; Dullinger, Iwona; Garstenauer, Rita; Gaube, Veronika; Haberl, Helmut; Kainz, Martin; Kreiner, Daniel; Mayer, Renate; Sass, Oliver; Stocker-Kiss, Andrea
Long-term socio-ecological research in practice : Lessons from inter-and transdisciplinary rese ...
in Sustainability volume 8 (2016) issue 8
doi:10.3390/su8080743 ...

Schnepfleitner, Harald; Sass, Oliver; Fruhmann, Stefanie; Viles, Heather; Goudie, Andrew
A multi‐method investigation of temperature, moisture and salt dynamics in tafoni (Tafraoute, ...
in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms volume 41 (2016) issue 4. - page 473-485
doi:10.1002/esp.3838 ...

Rode, Matthias; Schnepfleitner, Harald; Sass, Oliver
Simulation of moisture content in alpine rockwalls during freeze-thaw events
in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms volume 41 (2016) issue 13. - page 1937-1950
doi:10.1002/esp.3961 ...

Egartner, Isabel; Sass, Oliver
Using paper pulp poultices in the field and laboratory to analyse salt distribution in building ...
in Heritage Science volume 4 (2016)
doi:10.1186/s40494-016-0110-5 ...


Sass, Oliver; Kloss, Stefanie
Distribution of macro charcoal from forest fires in shallow soils of the Northern Alps
in Journal of Soils and Sediments volume 15 (2015) issue 4. - page 748-758
doi:10.1007/s11368-014-0954-9 ...


Glade, Thomas; Bell, Rainer; Dobesberger, Paul; Embleton-Hamann, Christine; Fromm, Reinhard; Fuchs, Sven; Hagen, Karl; Hübl, Johannes; Lieb, Gerhard; Otto, Jan-Christoph; Perzl, Frank; Peticzka, Robert; Prager, Christoph; Samimi, Cyrus; Sass, Oliver; Schöner, Wolfgang; Schröter, Dagmar; Schrott, Lothar; Zangerl, Christian; Zeidler, Antonia
Der Einfluss des Klimawandels auf die Reliefsphäre
Österreichischer Sachstandsbericht Klimawandel 2014 = Austrian Assessment Report 2014 (AAR14): Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC)
Wien : Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2014. - page 557-600

Malowerschnig, Bodo; Sass, Oliver
Long-term vegetation development on a wildfire slope in Innerzwain (Styria, Austria)
in Journal of Forestry Research volume 25 (2014) issue 1. - page 103-111
doi:10.1007/s11676-014-0435-4 ...

Stiegler, Christian; Rode, Matthias; Sass, Oliver; Otto, Jan-Christoph
An undercooled scree slope detected by geophysical investigations in sporadic permafrost below ...
in Permafrost and Periglacial Processes volume 25 (2014) issue 3. - page 194-207
doi:10.1002/ppp.1813 ...

Arpaci, Alexander; Malowerschnig, Bodo; Sass, Oliver; Vacik, Harald
Using multi variate data mining techniques for estimating fire susceptibility of Tyrolean fores ...
in Applied Geography volume 53 (2014) . - page 258-270
doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.05.015 ...


Strasser, Ulrich; Marke, Thomas; Sass, Oliver; Birk, S.; Winkler, Gerfried
John’s creek valley : a mountainous catchment for long-term interdisciplinary human-environme ...
in Environmental Earth Sciences volume 69 (2013) issue 2. - page 695-705
doi:10.1007/s12665-013-2318-y ...


Bremer, Magnus; Sass, Oliver
Combining airborne and terrestrial laser scanning for quantifying erosion and deposition by a d ...
in Geomorphology volume 138 (2012) issue 1. - page 49-60
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2011.08.024 ...

Sass, Oliver; Heel, Michael; Leistner, Iris; Stöger, Florence; Wetzel, Karl‐Friedrich; Friedmann, Arne
Disturbance, geomorphic processes and recovery of wildfire slopes in North Tyrol
in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms volume 37 (2012) issue 8. - page 883-894
doi:10.1002/esp.3221 ...

Sass, Oliver; Haas, Florian; Schimmer, Christoph; Heel, Michael; Bremer, Magnus; Stöger, Florence; Wetzel, Karl‐Friedrich
Impact of forest fires on geomorphic processes in the Tyrolean Limestone Alps
in Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography volume 94 (2012) issue 1. - page 117-133
doi:10.1111/j.1468-0459.2012.00452.x ...

Sass, Oliver; Oberlechner, Martin
Is climate change causing increased rockfall frequency in Austria?
in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences volume 12 (2012) issue 11. - page 3209-3216
doi:10.5194/nhess-12-3209-2012 ...

Kloss, Stefanie; Sass, Oliver; Geitner, Clemens; Prietzel, Jörg
Soil properties and charcoal dynamics of burnt soils in the Tyrolean Limestone Alps
in Catena volume 99 (2012) . - page 75-82
doi:10.1016/j.catena.2012.07.011 ...


Lukas, Sven; Sass, Oliver
The formation of Alpine lateral moraines inferred from sedimentology and radar reflection patte ...
in Special Publications / Geological Society London volume 354 (2011) issue 1. - page 77-92
doi:10.1144/SP354.5 ...


Sass, Oliver; Friedmann, Arne; Haselwanter, G.; Wetzel, Karl-Friedrich
Investigating thickness and internal structure of alpine mires using conventional and geophysic ...
in Catena volume 80 (2010) issue 3. - page 195-203
doi:10.1016/j.catena.2009.11.006 ...

Sass, Oliver; Heel, Michael; Hoinkis, R.; Wetzel, Karl-Friedrich
A six-year record of debris transport by avalanches on a wildfire slope (Arnspitze, Tyrol)
in Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie volume 54 (2010) issue 2. - page 181-193
doi:10.1127/0372-8854/2010/0054-0009 ...

Sass, Oliver
Spatial and temporal patterns of talus activity : a lichenometric approach in the Stubaier Alps ...
in Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography volume 92 (2010) issue 3. - page 375-391
doi:10.1111/j.1468-0459.2010.00402.x ...

Sass, Oliver; Viles, Heather
Two-dimensional resistivity surveys of the moisture content of historic limestone walls in Oxfo ...
in Special Publications / Geological Society London volume 331 (2010) . - page 237-249
doi:10.1144/SP331.22 ...

Sass, Oliver; Viles, Heather
Wetting and drying of masonry walls : 2D-resistivity monitoring of driving rain experiments on ...
in Journal of Applied Geophysics volume 70 (2010) issue 1. - page 72-83
doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2009.11.006 ...


Schrott, Lothar; Sass, Oliver
Application of field geophysics in geomorphology : advances and limitations exemplified by case ...
in Geomorphology volume 93 (2008) issue 1-2. - page 55-73
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2006.12.024 ...

Sass, Oliver; Bell, Rainer; Glade, Thomas
Comparison of GPR, 2D-resistivity and traditional techniques for the subsurface exploration of ...
in Geomorphology volume 93 (2008) issue 1-2. - page 89-103
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2006.12.019 ...

Sass, Oliver
The use of GPR in determining talus thickness and talus structure
Applied Geophysics in Periglacial Environments
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2008. - page 165-171
doi:10.1017/CBO9780511535628.012 ...


Sass, Oliver
Bedrock detection and talus thickness assessment in the European Alps using geophysical methods
in Journal of Applied Geophysics volume 62 (2007) issue 3. - page 254-269
doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2006.12.003 ...

Sass, Oliver; Krautblatter, Michael
Debris flow-dominated and rockfall-dominated talus slopes : Genetic models derived from GPR mea ...
in Geomorphology volume 86 (2007) issue 1-2. - page 176-192
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2006.08.012 ...

Sass, Oliver; Krautblatter, M.; Morche, David
Rapid lake infill following major rockfall (bergsturz) events revealed by ground-penetrating ra ...
in The Holocene volume 17 (2007) issue 7. - page 965-976
doi:10.1177/0959683607082412 ...


Otto, Jan-Christoph; Sass, Oliver
Comparing geophysical methods for talus slope investigations in the Turtmann valley (Swiss Alps ...
in Geomorphology volume 76 (2006) issue 3-4. - page 257-272
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2005.11.008 ...

Sass, Oliver
Determination of the internal structure of alpine talus deposits using different geophysical me ...
in Geomorphology volume 80 (2006) issue 1-2. - page 45-58
doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2005.09.006 ...

Sass, Oliver
Geophysical investigation of a relict talus slope in the Bavarian Alps, Germany
in Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie volume 50 (2006) issue 4. - page 447-463

Sass, Oliver; Viles, Heather
How wet are these walls? Testing a novel technique for measuring moisture in ruined walls
in Journal of Cultural Heritage volume 7 (2006) issue 4. - page 257-263
doi:10.1016/j.culher.2006.08.001 ...

Sass, Oliver; Wetzel, Karl-Friedrich; Friedmann, Arne
Landscape dynamics of sub-alpine forest fire slopes in the Northern Alps - preliminary results
in Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie : Supplement volume 142 (2006) . - page 207-227

Wetzel, Karl-Friedrich; Sass, Oliver; von Restorff, Cai
Mass Movement Processes in Unconsolidated Pleistocene Sediments : A Multi-Method Investigation ...
in Erdkunde volume 60 (2006) issue 3. - page 246-260
doi:10.3112/erdkunde.2006.03.04 ...


Sass, Oliver
Rock moisture measurements : techniques, results, and implications for weathering
in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms volume 30 (2005) issue 3. - page 359-374
doi:10.1002/esp.1214 ...

Sass, Oliver
Spatial patterns of rockfall intensity in the northern Alps
in Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie : Supplement volume 138 (2005) . - page 51-65

Sass, Oliver
Temporal variability of rockfall in the Bavarian Alps, Germany
in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research volume 37 (2005) issue 4. - page 564-573
doi:10.1657/1523-0430(2005)037[0564:TVORIT]2.0.CO; ...


Sass, Oliver
Rock moisture fluctuations during freeze-thaw cycles : Preliminary results from electrical resi ...
in Polar Geography volume 28 (2004) issue 1. - page 13-31
doi:10.1080/789610157 ...


Sass, Oliver
Moisture distribution in rockwalls derived from 2D-resistivity measurements
in Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie : Supplement volume 132 (2003) . - page 51-69


Sass, Oliver; Wollny, Klaus
Investigations regarding Alpine talus slopes using ground‐penetrating radar (GPR) in the Bava ...
in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms volume 26 (2001) issue 10. - page 1071-1086
doi:10.1002/esp.254 ...


Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences
Chair of geomorphology

Prof. Oliver Sass

Room: 139, GEO II

Phone: +49 921 552265
E-mail: oliver.sass@uni-bayreuth.de

Consultation: by appointment

Webmaster: Manfred Fischer

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