Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Rock Avalanche (Sturzstrom)

  • Reginald L. HermannsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_301


Rock avalanche; Rock-fall avalanche; Rock-fall generated debris stream; Sturzstrom


Rock avalanche (sturzstrom) were defined by Hsü (1975) based on Heim’s (1932) description of phenomena described with the German terms “Bergsturz,” “Trümmerstrom,” “Sturzstrom” as a stream of very rapidly moving debris derived from the disintegration of a fallen rock mass of very large size; the speed of a rock avalanche often exceeds 100 km/h, and its volume is commonly greater than 1 × 106 m3.


Rock avalanches are among the most hazardous landslides phenomena due to the speed, size, and run-out distance. Rock avalanches have destroyed entire villages and killed thousands. The run-out distance of a rock avalanche often exceeds several kilometers and the mobility becomes visible by the run up on opposite valley slopes, which is related to the volume of the initial rock failure (Scheidegger, 1973) and the morphology of the flow path (Nicoletti and Sorriso Valvo, 1991) but...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Landslide Department, International Centre for GeohazardsGeological Survey of NorwayTrondheimNorway