Prof. Oliver Korup, PhD

+49 331 977 2732
+49 331 977 5700


Permafrost decay

13 May 2015: The Geohazards Group meeting (12:15, Room 2.36, Golm Campus, House 27) features Georg Veh presenting preliminary results on: “Thermal erosion on ice-rich Siberian permafrost: Application of logistic regression for susceptibility mapping using GIS and remote sensing data”.

Visit to Ostrava

05 May 2015: Oliver Korup visits colleagues at the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, and talks on “Natural Hazards in the Anthropocene” and “Black Swans in Geomorphology”.

Large landslides lie low

27 April 2015: A new study of large rock-slope failures in the Himalaya-Karakoram Ranges finds that the vast majority of these landslides occur in the lower half of the landscape, even when correcting for potentially rapid erosion by glaciers at higher elevations. It appears that hillslope denudation in this part of the mountain belt is strikingly layered.

Silty Himalayan rivers

16 April 2015: A new paper in Geophysical Research Letters examines sedimentation data in a reservoir on the Kali Gandaki River, central Nepal, and finds that the arid headwaters draining the Tibetan Plateau appear to deliver sediment at rates much higher than expected.

Field trip to Nepal

23 Mar 2015: A team of five researchers from Uni Potsdam leaves for another field work campaign in the Himalayas in order to unravel the apparently turbulent recent geologic history of Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city, and a major tourist destination.

Volcanic aftermath

03 Feb 2015: Christian Mohr and Deniz Gök (Freie Universität Berlin) travel to south-central Chile to continue their fieldwork with partners from the Universida Austral de Chile, Valdivia, on the (bio-)geomorphic impacts of the 2008 eruptions of Chaiten volcano.

How fast are the Japanese Alps eroding?

22 Jan 2015: Henry Munack joins Tibi Codilean (University of Wollongong, Australia) and Yuki Matsushi (Kyoto University) for a field trip to tackle this question. This trip will continue our sampling campaign for cosmogenic nuclides in several dozen catchments across the Japanese Island arc.

Geochemistry of landslide basal shear bands

19 Jan 2015: Geohazards Group Meeting — Maike Schäbitz from GFZ Potsdam presents on the geochemistry and clay mineralogy of the basal shear bands of two large landslides in China. Maike shows new evidence that supports the notion of flash heating at the base of large landslides.

On predicting debris flows in arid mountain belts

16 Jan 2015: Motivated by the exceptional “flash floods” in India’s Ladakh and Zanskar Ranges in 2010, Amelie Stolle and colleagues publish a paper that investigates how well topographic data work for predicting the occurrence of debris flows. Contact Amelie for a PDF of this paper.

Operator bias in landslide mapping

12 Jan 2015: Today’s Geohazards Group Meeting sees a comparison between results of landslide mapping based on the same LiDAR data set. Group meeting coordinates will be Golm Campus, House 27, Room 2.24, 12:15–13:45, until further notice.

Graph theory in Geomorphology

5 Jan 2015: Tobias Heckmann, Wolfgang Schwanghart and Jonathan D. Phillips have just published their review paper on graph theory and its application in geomorphology in the journal Geomorphology. Please download the paper here.

Disturbance hydrology @ AGU

19 Dec 2014: Christian Mohr co-chairs with Ben Mirus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a session at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco. The session (H51H) is devoted to “Disturbance Hydrology: Assessing Immediate and Long-Term Impacts of Abrupt Landscape Changes on Hydrologic Processes and Function I” within the Hydrology Division. The venue is Moscone West-Poster Hall (08:00–12:20), and Moscone West–3020 (13:40–15:40).

Lichens on Rockglaciers in the Tien Shan @ AGU

18 Dec 2014: Swenja Rosenwinkel presents her results on calibrating lichen diameters to obtain the age of rock glaciers in the Tien Shan at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco. Swenja seeks to learn more about the age and forming processes of these rock glaciers (Session C41B–0355, 08:00–12:20, Moscone West-Poster Hall).

From Phantom Blocks to Denudational Noise

17 Dec 2014: Henry Munack successfully defends his PhD thesis on his multi-scale approach to quantifying Himalayan denudation. Reviewers of the thesis are Ed Sobel, Veerle Vanacker, and Oliver Korup (Golm Campus Haus 14, Room 0.45, 15:00).

Vom Strausberg zum Mount Everest

15 Dec 2014: Wolfgang Schwanghart and Oliver Korup feature briefly in the second part of a two-part RBB TV documentary on a new digital mapping project of the Mount Everest region. Tune in to RBB channel at 22:15 or view it online.

21st century Himalayan hydropower

15 Dec 2014: Wolfgang Schwanghart presents in the Institute’s colloquium on: “Himalayan hydropower in the 21st century: increasing uncertainty about glacial lake outburst floods”. Come to Haus 28, Hörsaal 0.108, Golm Campus, at 16:15.

Object-based classification of remote-sensing data

15 Dec 2014: Amelie Stolle presents research from her MSc thesis that she carried out at DLR Oberpfaffenhoffen: How many tents can computers count from satellite images of a rock concert? (Geohazards Group Meeting 12:15–13:45, Room 2.24, Haus 27, Golm Campus).

Soaring above the clouds

11 Dec 2014: Wolfgang Schwanghart and Amelie Stolle attend an exclusive sneak preview of Part 2 of “Von Strausberg zum Mount Everest – Forschungsabenteuer im Hightech-Segler”, which is a two-part RBB TV documentary that also features members of the Geohazards Group in a collaborative project with DLR Adlershof.

Trees Talk of Tremor?

10 Dec 2014: Christian Mohr and Michael Manga from UC Berkeley perform a short field campaign to sample tree cores in the nearby Napa Valley, which was the staging ground for the M6.0 Napa Valley earthquake this summer. They seek to better understand short-term vegetation responses to seismic shaking.

PROGRESS concludes

10 Dec 2014: The Potsdam Research Cluster for Georisk Analysis, Environmental Change and Sustainability (PROGRESS), funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), has come to an official close. Oliver Korup highlights some of the recent research of the Geohazards Group in a presentation devoted to “Drenching Rains and Dusty Plains” (15:30, Haus 25, Room 0.01).

Mountains and Climate Change

09 Dec 2014: Members of the Geohazards Group contribute a chapter on Mountain Hazards to the second edition of “Mountains and Climate Change - A Global Concern” edited by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC/DEZA). The official launch of this brochure is at the International Mountain Day (11 Dec 2014) during a side event in the Mountain Pavilion at COP 20 Lima.

Third Pole Environments Workshop

09 Dec 2014: Oliver Korup presents “Natural Hazards – News from the Third Pole” at the 5th Third Pole Environment (TPE) Workshop at Harnack Haus, Freie Universität Berlin-Dahlem, Ihmestr. 16–20 (15:30).

Geological Fieldwork meets Modelling

02 Dec 2014: Wolfgang Schwanghart participates in a workshop at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, dedicated to strengthening research collaborations between field geoscientists and modellers. He presents on “Excess topography – a new relief metric in TopoToolbox”.

New BRAIN fellow joins the Geohazards Group

01 Dec 2014: Dr John Jansen from the University of Wollongong, Australia, is joining the Geohazards Group for two years as one of the four new BRAIN fellows, a highly competitive fellowship awarded to outstanding international scientists to conduct research in universities of Brandenburg.

Bridge stipend

20 Nov 2014: Henry Munack receives a bridge stipend from the University of Potsdam for preparing his post-doctoral research on the geomorphic and biomass response to the 2008 pyroclastic eruption of Chaiten volcano in south-central Chile.

New book chapter on snow- and ice-related hazards

10 Nov 2014: Darrel Swift and colleagues present a book chapter on “Snow And Ice-Related Hazards, Risks And Disasters“ in a book edited by Wilfried Haeberli and Colin Whiteman. This book is part the series entitled “Elsevier’s Hazards and Disasters”.

New paper on rainfall-triggered landslides

01 Nov 2014: Hitoshi Saito and colleagues present new insights into the characteristics of rainfall-triggered landslides in Japan. They show that it is neither the most frequent nor the most extreme rainfall duration or intensity that triggered the largest volume of landslides. This counterintuitive result has important repercussions on the widespread use of rainfall intensity-duration curves in landslide warning.

TopoToolBox Blog

31 Oct 2014: The TopoToolBox extension for MATLAB is a great tool for doing advanced geomorphometry with digital terrain data. The software is maintained by Wolfgang Schwanghart, who has begun to run a blog dedicated to specific aspects (

New discussion paper: Norwegian roads at risk

30 Oct 2014: Nele Meyer and colleagues estimate the risk from road closures in southern Norway due to debris flows. Using graph theory, they quantify the detours that arise from such road closures, and thus contribute to better planning for hazard-induced traffic disruption (Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 2, 6623-6651, 2014)

New book chapter on landslide-damming episodes

27 Oct 2014: Oliver Korup and Gonghui Wang (Kyoto University, Japan) present a new book chapter on “Multiple Landslide-Damming Episodes” in the book “Landslide Hazards, Risks and Disasters” (edited by Tim R. Davies; ISBN: 9780123964526) published by Elsevier.

New PhD student in the Geohazards Group

15 Oct 2014: Amelie Stolle starts her DFG-funded PhD project on the Geomorphic Legacy of Lake Outburst Flows in the Nepal Himalaya. Amelie will be joining us in our efforts of reconstructing the (pre-)historic and likely catastrophic infill of the Pokhara valley by mass movements from the Annapurna massif.

Geohazards Group witnesses successful PhD defense

15 Oct 2014: Jan Blöthe successfully defends his PhD thesis entitled “Himalayan Valley Fills”. The examination committee is chaired by Prof. Uwe Altenberger, and includes Profs. Manfred Strecker, Steffen Mischke, Niels Hovius, Alex Densmore, and Oliver Korup.

AK Geomorphologie

01–04 Oct 2014: Swenja Rosenwinkel and Jan Blöthe visit and present at the 2014 annual meeting of the German working group on geomorphology in Kiel. Jan Blöthe is elected as representative of the Young Geomorphologists working group.

Back in Japan

26 Sep–07 Oct 2014: Oliver Korup and Henry Munack visit the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University to work on a joint research project on Be–10 derived denudation rates in the Japanese Alps.

Our Profile

Geohazards such as earthquakes, landslides, tsunami, floods or wildfires endanger not only lives and infrastructure, but also natural resources and cultual heritage around the world. Earth's population has now reached 7 billion, and more than half of this number lives in cities. The rapid expansion of settlements into geologically more active terrain such as unstable hillslopes or flood-prone river valleys exposes more and more people to natural hazards. The Geohazards Group seeks to detect and objectively quantify the frequency, magnitude, and consequences of potentially adverse natural processes. To this end we augment the record of historic events with evidence from geological archives.