PhD Students

Moritz Liebl

Moritz is working the project ELEvATE, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the government of Salzburg. The project focuses on the evolution of elevated low relief landscapes (plateaus) in active mountain ranges. The project is supervised by Jörg Robl and Kurt Stüwe.

Moritz studied geoscience (Bachelor´s and Master´s degree) at the University of Innsbruck. His research interests are active tectonics and dynamic sediment processes, which eventually control the evolution of alpine landscapes.

Anne-Laure Argentin

Anne-Laure is a PhD student working on the Austrian Academy of Sciences funded RiCoLa (River Courses and Landslides) project ( She is part of the Dynamite - Dynamic Mountain Environments (DME) doctorate school (

Anne-Laure graduated with a master's degree from the National Superior School of Geology in Nancy, France.
Her PhD focuses on the detection and analysis of landslide-induced river course changes and lake formation.
Her supervisors are Jörg Robl and Günther Prasicek (RiCoLa project leader).

Georg Manuel Trost

Georg is a FWF-funded PhD-Student at the doctoral college GIScience ( He holds a bachelor's degree in geoscience from the university of Erlangen-Nürnberg and a master's degree in geology from the University of Salzburg. In his PhD thesis he focuses on the topographic expression of tectonically mountain ranges where he investigates the interplay of surface and deep-seated processes by analyzing remote sensing data and time dependent numerical models. In particular, his research project addresses the updoming of young metamorphic core complexes in the Eastern Alps, Papua New Guinea and southwestern China. The project is performed under the supervision of Franz Neubauer and Jörg Robl.


Master Students

Stefan Rass


Stefan is working on his master thesis and determines a mass balance of the Rettenbach torrent that is a small torrential river near the city of Salzburg. He determines the dissolved load by integrating discharge-time series from a gauging station operated by the Torrent and Avalanche Control and analyzing the concentration of cations in water. Water was sampled at different discharge regimes. Chemical analyses are performed at the ICP-MS facility of the University of Graz.

Oliver Stauber



Bachelor Students

Christoph Schnell

Chris is currently working on his bachelor thesis "Characteristics of a rapid mass movement near Bad Vigaun". The study is based on (a) field work including mapping the landslide deposit and the landslide scarp, (b) GIS to compute the volume of the landslide and to determine the release area and (c) modelling to numerically describe the potential landslide dynamics of by a series of scenarios. These scenarios will cover a wide range of release geometries and flow resistance parameters and will eventually show the impact of the landslide on the Salzach valley.

Christopher Hausmann


Christopher is a highly motivated student attending the master program of physical geography and the bachelor program of geology. In order to become a bachelor of geology he is currently working on a heavy mineral analysis of cave sediments from various cave levels. He will compare the results of his analysis with the heavy mineral distribution of sediments sampled at the current base level (Salzach River) and at the plateau of the Tenngengebirge from the so called “Augenstein landscape”. The derived data will represent another mosaic stone in constraining changes in the contribution drainage area of the Salzach River and level of exhumation level in the upstream Tauern Region.

Helena Hofmann


Andreas Portenkirchner



Elisabeth Horvath

Elisabeth is currently working on her bachelor thesis, where she focusses on the impact of rockfall on infrastructure (highway). Rockfall and rockslisdes may be triggered by the expansion of a major quarry serveral hundred meters above the highway. In order to determine the vulnerability of the highway by rapid mass movements and to develop mitigation strategies, Elisabeth is mapping potential release areas and the block size distribution in field, analyses digital elevation models with ArcGIS and will perform rockfall simulations.

Christoph Hesselbach


Chris focusses on 3D geodetic surveying in challenging realms such as caves or shallow marine environments. Based on point clouds he reconstructs the 3-dimensional geometry of karst conduits in the Lamprechts cave near Lofer, Austria and of a subtropical reef at Grand Cayman, Carribean. Although his thesis focuses mainly on methodical aspects, he nicely documents structures of reef formation due to biotic processes and structures of reef decay due to dissolution processes hundreds of million years after its build-up.

Christian Wolfesberger



Alumni (Master and PhD)

Sebastian Baumann


Sebastian has written his bachelor thesis with focus on morphometry and landscape evolution of the Hausruck- Kobernausserwald region. His main interests are on landscape evolution, spatial statistics and planetology where he benefits from his numerical and computational skills. Currently Sebastian is working on his master thesis that focusses on remote sensing for groundwater exploration. The thesis is funded by the project "EO-based services to support humanitarian operations: monitoring population and natural resources in refugee/IDP camps". To assist this project, he develops automated routines in open-source software (e.g. GRASS GIS, R) for satellite images and digital elevation models (Landsat 7/8, SRTM) to identify lineaments. He further generates spectral populations and assigns attributes to these spectral populations (lithology, vegetation density, moisture  ...). Remote sensing methods in general use image processing algorithms. In his approach he uses geomorphological analysis on digital elevation models to preprocess satellite images and classify surface domains prior to image processing.

BAUMANN, S., ROBL, J., KEIL, M. and SALCHER B. (2014): Geomorphic characterization of hilly relief in the north alpine foreland basin: The Hausruck- and Kobernaußerwald region. EGU2014-7059.  

 LEITNER, C., FRIEDL, G., BAUMANN, S. and BIENIOK, A. (2014): Excavation and humidity induced extension veins of mudrock clasts in a ductile rock salt matrix, filled with secondary halite deposits (Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria, Bavaria). Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften 165/1, pp. 77–90, doi: 10.1127/1860-1804/2014/0061.  

Georg Manuel Trost

Trost Georg

Georg has successfully written his master thesis on a mass balance of a small torrential catchment near the city of Salzburg. He determined the dissolved load of the Schwarzaubach torrent over a period of more than one year and calculated the average catchment wide "denudation rate" due to chemical erosion. Georg is an expert for spatial analysis and integrates data from field with results from numerical analyses. He is working with several GIS-software products like ArcGIS, GRASS and GMT and is familiar with rainfall-runoff-models such as HEC-HMS and TOPMODEL.
Georg will start his PhD on "Neotectonics, active faults and landforms" supervised by Franz Neubauer. This PhD project is part of the doctorial college GIScience and funded by the FWF.

David Schwertl


David has recently submitted his master thesis on the impact of rapid mass movements on infrastructure in alpine valleys. Therefore he combined field work and numerical models such as trajectory models for rock falls or fluid dynamic models for debris flows. He integrated field data with results from numerical models using the ArcGIS. This allowed a concise presentation of the potential impact of debris flows and rock falls on infrastructure for an entire alpine valley.

Bernhard Mitosch



Bernhard has written his bachelor thesis about the characteristics of channels and corresponding hillslope that are currently adjusting to the Pleistocene base level lowering of the Salzach valley. He has strong skills in both: field work and GIS. Currently he performs his master thesis analyzing morphological characteristics of a landslide prone area in the Flysch Zone of Salzburg (state). Therefore he delineates morphological features that are characteristic for slow and fast mass wasting on hillslopes. He is interested in mechanisms that trigger landslides and he determines the spatial distribution of numerous landslides to explore the lithological control of landslide occurrence. In this context, he collects statistics of observed landslides and calculates slope stability models with state of the art codes on the basis of ellipsoidal failure surfaces whereby fieldwork is a crucial part of it.