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Slope Mass-wasting under Climate change. Physical mechanisms, predictive modelling and possible mitigation strategies

Total activity: 11
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
143.990,00 €
Start date
End date
SMuCPhy is a multidisciplinary project along the Challenge line Action on climate change and efficiency in the use of resources and raw
materials with focus on the investigation of geological-geotechnical hazards under climate change and related adaptation strategies. It
focuses on slope mass wasting (SMW) due to shallow failures in hilly areas, one of the main erosional processes with important direct and
indirect consequences to society (fatalities, damage to infrastructures, loss of agricultural and forested soils, reduction of reservoir volumes, etc.). Together with geological settings, material properties and climatic
actions, an important controlling factor for SMW is the vegetation and this point receives a particular attention in the project.
The project addresses the problem of SMW under climate change by a novel approach, based on the integration of information and
approaches at three different scales: slope, catchment and region. Scale integration is supported by a deterministic model, based an
existing Finite Element (FE) code for coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes in geological media, enhanced within the project with
an innovative module for soil/plant/atmosphere interactions. Model formulation and validation are supported at slope scale by data
obtained during a sophisticated full-scale experiment, built within the project. At catchment scale, FE model is used to back-analysed and
predict, under meteorological time series projected according to a climate change scenario, the response of three instrumented sites in
Central-Eastern Pyrenees. At regional scale, a GIS based approach is used to correlate regional variables with mass wasting spatialtemporal
characteristics and define typical slope cases for numerical simulations. Results at catchment and regional scales are crosschecked
with historic data (magnitude-frequency relationships, rainfall intensity duration thresholds) by means of simulation runs over past
test/validation periods. Predictions are also cross-checked by comparing projections of historic data with those derived from numerical
simulations. Possible strategies for mass wasting remediation include slope stabilization at slope and catchment scales by use of
vegetation and risk management at regional scale by production of susceptibility maps.
Consortium is formed by international multidisciplinary teams. It is composed by an investigation team (8 researchers from the geological,
geotechnical, geomatic and natural risks fields), a work team (3 researchers working in private companies, 3 international experts and two
PhD students with own funding), 4 companies devoted to high-tech instrumentation, geotechnical testing and slope remediation, 2
administrations in charge of land use planning and 3 research institutions of international recognition. An experienced researcher will be
contracted to develop the numerical model and a FPI PhD student will be formed to the analyses at catchment and regional scales.
Main socioeconomic impacts are related to the reduction of SMW risk and the promotion of vegetation in sustainable engineering designs.
Project outcomes are directly transferred to administrations, companies and end-users by organization of annual meetings, end-users and
final international workshops. Technical outcomes linked with SMW mitigation will be incorporated into the products of the collaborating
companies and scientific publications in high-rating indexed journals published.
auscultación de laderas, cambio climático, climate change, coupled chemo-thermo-hydro-mechanical processes, deslizamientos superficiales, geological hazard, geotechnical engineering, ingeniería geotécnica, interacción suelo/planta/atmósfera, mapas de susceptibilidad, modelación física, modelación numérica, numerical modelling, physical modelling, procesos acoplados quimio-termo-hidro-mecánicos, riesgo geológico, shallow landslides, slope monitoring, soil/plant/atmosphere interactions, susceptibility maps
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Resoluton year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


Scientific and technological production

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