Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Martino, S. and Mazzanti, P. 2014. Integrating geomechanical surveys and remote sensing for sea cliff slope stability analysis: the Mt. Pucci case study (Italy). Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 14, Issue. 4, p. 831.

  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: May 2013

24 - Randa:



In this chapter we summarize integrated investigations carried out at the Randa rock-slope instability in Matter Valley, Switzerland, between 2000 and 2010. We present a 3D geometric and structural model of the current instability, which consists of 5–6 million m3 of crystalline rock. We also document the complex kinematic behavior and discuss the driving factors for observed slope movements. We show that both the May 1991 failure and the current instability are bounded laterally by the same large-scale fault, and at the base by a planar or stepped rupture surface daylighting at the contact with the Randa orthogneiss. The spatial distribution of current displacements indicates toppling in the upper section of the instability between 2200 and 2400 m asl and sliding in the lower area between 1900 and 2200 m asl. Continuous displacement time series from the surface and deep boreholes show increasing deformation rates when ground surface temperatures decrease in fall and a decrease after snowmelt in spring as the rock warms. We have not detected displacement signatures related to heavy rainstorms or snowmelt. Mapping of the locations of springs and recordings of borehole pore water pressure demonstrate locally perched groundwater in open fractures, and a low regional groundwater table located at or below the basal rupture surface. Numerical modeling results support the hypothesis that thermo-mechanical coupled deformation resulting from annual temperature changes and critically stressed fractures in a complex topography is the primary mechanism driving deep-seated displacements at Randa.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

  • Online ISBN: 9780511740367
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *


Alpiger, A. (2010). Hydrogeology of the rock slope instability at Randa (Switzerland). B.Sc. thesis, Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Bonzanigo, L., Eberhardt, E. and Loew, S. (2007). Long-term investigation of a deep-seated creeping landslide in crystalline rock. Part I. Geological and hydromechanical factors controlling the Campo Vallemaggia landslide. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 44, 1157–1180.
Eberhardt, E., Stead, D. and Coggan, J.S. (2004). Numerical analysis of initiation and progressive failure in natural rock slopes: The 1991 Randa rockslide. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 41, 68–87.
Eisenbeiss, H. (2009). UAV photogrammetry. Ph.D. thesis, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Girod, F. (1999). Altération météorique de roche granitique en milieu Alpin: Le cas de l’orthogneiss associé à l’éboulement de Randa (Mattertal, Valais, Suisse). Ph.D. thesis, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland.
Gischig, V., Loew, S., Kos, al. (2009). Identification of active release planes using ground-based differential InSAR at the Randa rock slope instability, Switzerland. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 9, 1–12.
Gischig, V., Amann, F., Moore, al. (2011a). Composite rock slope kinematics at the current Randa instability, Switzerland, based on remote sensing and numerical modeling, Engineering Geology, 118, 37–53.
Gischig, V., Moore, J.R., Evans, E., Amann, F. and Loew, S. (2011b). Thermo-mechanical forcing of deep rock slope deformation. Part I. Conceptual study of a simplified slope. Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface, 116, F04010.
Gischig, V., Moore, J.R., Evans, E., Amann, F. and Loew, S. (2011c). Thermo-mechanical forcing of deep rock slope deformation. Part II. The Randa rock slope instability. Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface, 116, F04011.
Goodman, R.E. and Bray, J.W. (1976). Toppling of rock slopes. In: Specialty Conference on Rock Engineering for Foundations and Slopes, Vol. 2. American Society of Civil Engineers. Boulder, CO, pp. 201–234.
Harrison, J.C. and Herbst, K. (1977). Thermoelastic strains and tilts revisited. Geophysical Research Letters, 4, 535–537.
Heincke, B., Green, A.G., van der Kruk, J. and Horstmeyer, H. (2005). Acquisition and processing strategies for 3-D georadar surveying a region characterized by rugged topography. Geophysics, 70, K53–K61.
Heincke, B., Green, A., van der Kruk, J. and Willenberg, H. (2006a). Semblance-based topographic migration (SBTM): A method for identifying fracture zones in 3-D georadar data. Near Surface Geophysics, 4, 79–88.
Heincke, B., Maurer, H.R., Green, al. (2006b). Characterizing an unstable mountain slope using shallow 2- and 3-D seismic tomography. Geophysics, 71, B241–B256.
Hocking, G. (1974). A method for distinguishing between single and double plane sliding of tetrahedral wedges. International Journal of Rock Mechanics, Mining Science and Geomechanics Abstracts, 13, 225–226.
Hoek, E., Carranza-Torres, C. and Corkum, B. (2002). Hoek–Brown failure criterion: 2002 edition. In Mining and Tunnelling Innovation and Opportunity: Proceedings of the 5th North American Rock Mechanics Symposium, Vol. 1. Tunneling Association of Canada, Toronto, pp. 267–273.
Jennings, J.E. (1970). A mathematical theory for the calculation of the stability of open cast mines. In Symposium on the Theoretical Background to the Planning of Open Pit Mines, Johannesburg, South Africa, pp. 87–102.
Krähenbühl, R. (2004). Temperatur und Kluftwasser als Ursachen von Felssturz. Bulletin für Angewandte Geologie, 9, 19–35.
Krähenbühl, R. (2006). Der Felssturz, der sich auf die Stunde genau ankündigte. Bulletin für Angewandte Geologie, 11, 49–63.
Moore, J.R., Gischig, V., Button, E. and Loew, S. (2010). Rockslide deformation monitoring with fiber optic strain sensors. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 10, 191–201.
Sartori, M., Baillifard, F., Jaboyedoff, M. and Rouiller, J.D. (2003). Kinematics of the 1991 Randa rockslides (Valais, Switzerland). Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 3, 423–433.
Schindler, C., Cuénod, Y., Eisenlohr, T. and Joris, C.L. (1993). Die Ereignisse vom 18 April und 9 Mai 1991 bei Randa (VS): Ein atypischer Bergsturz in Raten. Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae, 86, 643–665.
Spillmann, T., Maurer, H.R., Willenberg, al. (2007a). Characterization of an unstable rock mass based on borehole logs and diverse borehole radar data. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 61, 16–38.
Spillmann, T., Maurer, H.R., Heincke, B., Willenberg, H. and Green, A. (2007b). Microseismic monitoring of an unstable rock mass. Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth, 112, B07301.
Wagner, A. (1991). Bergsturz Grossgufer Randa: Etude Structurale et Géomécanique. Sion, Switzerland:Centre de Recherches Scientifiques Fondamentales et Appliquées de Sion.
Watson, A.D., Moore, D.P. and Stewart, T.W. (2004). Temperature influence on rock slope movements at Checkerboard Creek. InProceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Landslides, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, pp. 1293–1304.
Willenberg, H. (2004). Geologic and kinematic model of a complex landslide in crystalline rock (Randa, Switzerland). Ph.D. thesis, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland.
Willenberg, H., Loew, S., Spillmann, al. (2008a). Internal structure and deformation of active slope instability in crystalline rock at Randa, Switzerland. I. 3D rock mass structure from integrated geological and geophysical investigations. Engineering Geology, 101, 1–14.
Willenberg, H., Evans, K., Loew, S. and Eberhardt, E. (2008b). Internal structure and deformation of an active slope instability in crystalline rock at Randa, Switzerland. II. 3D deformation pattern and kinematic model. Engineering Geology, 101, 15–32.
Wyllie, D.C. and Mah, C.W. (2004). Rock Slope Engineering: Civil and Mining (4th edn.). New York: Spon Press.
Yugsi, M.F.X. (2011). Structural control of multi-scale discontinuities on slope instabilities in crystalline rock (Matter Valley, Switzerland). Ph.D. thesis, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.