Tree-ring based reconstruction and modelling of snow avalanches at Cheerbach and Breitwald (Goms Valley)

The Goms valley is one of those regions of Switzerland being very heavily affected by snow avalanches. During the winter 1998/99, catastrophic avalanches caused massive damage to century-old forest stands and infrastructure. Close to the village of Obergesteln, snow avalanches have repeatedly caused damage to old European larch trees colonizing the Cheerbach and Breitwald sectors. We assessed past snow avalanche activity along three horizontal transects and with more than 100 trees through dendrogeomorphological methods. The different volumes that occurred and flow paths that were used allow an approximation of sector influenced by and flow heights of past events. The tree-ring data will then be used as input data for the simulation runs with the snow avalanche module of the model RAMMS: in order to get an idea of release volumes, spatial patterns as well as the reach of past events. First results are expected to be available by mid 2008.


Collaborations: Swiss Federal Research Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF), Davos

Project duration: October 2007 – December 2008

Contact : Markus Stoffel