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Johan Gaume

Johan Gaume
ETH Zurich | ETH Zürich · Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

PhD
Looking for PhD students & PostDocs. Field: alpine mass movements (SLF Davos & ETH Zürich). Contact me if interested.

About

127
Publications
30,606
Reads
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1,239
Citations
Citations since 2017
65 Research Items
985 Citations
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Additional affiliations
July 2017 - October 2017
University of California, Los Angeles
Position
  • Visiting Scholar
June 2016 - present
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Position
  • Researcher
September 2013 - present
WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Analysis and modeling of avalanche release processes
Education
February 2009 - October 2012
University of Grenoble
Field of study
  • Geomechanics
September 2007 - September 2008
Grenoble Institute of Technology
Field of study
  • Rheology, Mechanics and Physics of Fluid Materials
September 2005 - September 2008

Publications

Publications (127)
Article
Full-text available
The failure of a weak snow layer buried below cohesive slab layers is a necessary, but insufficient, condition for the release of a dry-snow slab avalanche. The size of the crack in the weak layer must also exceed a critical length to propagate across a slope. In contrast to pioneering shear-based approaches, recent developments account for weak la...
Article
Full-text available
Continuum numerical modeling of dynamic crack propagation has been a great challenge over the past decade. This is particularly the case for anticracks in porous materials, as reported in sedimentary rocks, deep earthquakes, landslides, and snow avalanches, as material inter-penetration further complicates the problem. Here, on the basis of a new e...
Article
Full-text available
Snow avalanches cause fatalities and economic damage. Key to their mitigation is the understanding of snow avalanche dynamics. This study investigates the dynamic behavior of snow avalanches, using the material point method (MPM) and an elastoplastic constitutive law for porous cohesive materials. By virtue of the hybrid Eulerian–Lagrangian nature...
Article
Full-text available
We study the microscopic origin of nonlocality in dense granular media. Discrete element simulations reveal that macroscopic shear results from a balance between microscopic elementary rearrangements occurring in opposite directions. The effective macroscopic fluidity of the material is controlled by these velocity fluctuations, which are responsib...
Article
Full-text available
The Dyatlov Pass incident is an intriguing unsolved mystery from the last century. In February 1959, a group of nine experienced Russian mountaineers perished during a difficult expedition in the northern Urals. A snow avalanche hypothesis was proposed, among other theories, but was found to be inconsistent with the evidence of a lower-than-usual s...
Preprint
Full-text available
Shallow landslides pose a significant threat to people and infrastructure. While often modeled based on limit equilibrium analysis, finite or discrete elements, continuum particle-based approaches like the Material Point Method (MPM) have more recently been successful in modeling their full 3D elasto-plastic behavior. In this paper, we develop a de...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The rock slope instability at Spitze Stei located in the Swiss Alps, near the village Kandersteg, might trigger one of the largest cascading processes chain in the recent history of the European Alps. The geological disposition causes a long-term retrogressive rock slope instability, whose past activity is assumed to have been influenced by climate...
Article
Full-text available
Alpine mass movements can generate process cascades involving different materials including rock, ice, snow, and water. Numerical modelling is an essential tool for the quantification of natural hazards. Yet, state-of-the-art operational models are based on parameter back-calculation and thus reach their limits when facing unprecedented or complex...
Article
Full-text available
Snow slab avalanches, characterized by a distinct, broad fracture line, are released following anticrack propagation in highly porous weak snow layers buried below cohesive slabs. The anticrack mechanism is driven by the volumetric collapse of the weak layer, which leads to the closure of crack faces and to the onset of frictional contact. Here, on...
Article
Full-text available
Porous rocks, foams, cereals, and snow display a diverse set of common compaction patterns, including propagating or stationary bands. Although this commonality across distinct media has been widely noted, the patterns' origin remains debated-current models employ empirical laws for material-specific processes. Here, using a generic model of inelas...
Article
Full-text available
Erosion significantly affects the dynamics of gravity-driven mass flows. In snow avalanches, the snow cover can be substantially eroded but only partially entrained, however, there are very limited investigations to substantiate this difference. Here, we study various erosion and entrainment behaviors in snow avalanches using the material point met...
Article
Full-text available
The calculation of the impact pressure on obstacles in granular flows is a fundamental issue of practical relevance, e.g. for snow avalanches impacting obstacles. Previous research shows that the load on the obstacle builds up, due to the formation of force chains originating from the obstacle and extending into the granular material. This leads to...
Article
Full-text available
Mountain forests provide natural protection against avalanches. They can both prevent avalanche formation in release zones and reduce avalanche mobility in runout areas. Although the braking effect of forests has been previously explored through global statistical analyses on documented avalanches, little is known about the mechanism of snow detrai...
Article
Full-text available
Having shed new light on an old mystery—how nine Russian mountaineers perished in the Urals in 1959—Alexander Puzrin and Johan Gaume got hooked. Three expeditions later it is clear that avalanches are not exceptional at Dyatlov Pass. Having shed new light on an old mystery—how nine Russian mountaineers perished in the Urals in 1959—Alexander Puzrin...
Article
Full-text available
With ongoing global warming, snow avalanche dynamics may change as snow cohesion and friction strongly depend on temperature. In the field, a diversity of avalanche flow regimes has been reported including fast, sheared flows and slow plugs. While the significant role of cohesion and friction has been recognized, it is unclear how these mechanical...
Article
Full-text available
In avalanche engineering and hazard mapping, computing impact pressures exerted by avalanches on rigid structures has long been a difficult task that requires combining empirical equations, rules of thumb, engineering judgment and experience. Until the 1990s, well-documented avalanches were seldom, and the main source of information included back-a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Alpine mass movements can generate process cascades involving different materials including rock, ice, snow, and water. Numerical modelling is an essential tool for the quantification of natural hazards, but state-of-the-art operational models reach their limits when facing unprecedented or complex events. Here, we advance our predictive capabiliti...
Article
Full-text available
For the release of a slab avalanche, crack propagation within a weak snowpack layer below a cohesive snow slab is required. As crack speed measurements can give insight into underlying processes, we analysed three crack propagation events that occurred in similar snowpacks and covered all scales relevant for avalanche release. For the largest scale...
Article
Full-text available
Porous brittle solids evidence complex mechanical behavior, where localized failure patterns originate from mechanical processes on the microstructural level. In order to investigate the failure mechanics of porous brittle solids, we outline a general stochastic and numerical microstructure-based approach. To this end, we generate random porous mic...
Preprint
Full-text available
Snow slab avalanches are released following anticrack propagation in highly porous weak snow layers buried below cohesive slabs. The volumetric collapse of the weak layer leads to the closure of crack faces followed by the onset of frictional contact. Here on the basis of snow fracture experiments, full-scale avalanche measurements, and numerical s...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mountain forests provide natural protection against avalanches. They can both prevent avalanche formation in release zones and reduce avalanche mobility in runout areas. Although the braking effect of forests has been previously explored through global statistical analyses on documented avalanches, little is known about the mechanism of snow detrai...
Article
Full-text available
Snow avalanches cause fatalities and economic loss worldwide and are one of the most dangerous gravitational hazards in mountainous regions. Various flow behaviors have been reported in snow avalanches, making them challenging to be thoroughly understood and mitigated. Existing popular numerical approaches for modeling snow avalanches predominantly...
Article
Full-text available
Glaciers calving icebergs into the ocean significantly contribute to sea-level rise and can trigger tsunamis, posing severe hazards for coastal regions. Computational modeling of such multiphase processes is a great challenge involving complex solid–fluid interactions. Here, a new continuum damage Material Point Method has been developed to model d...
Article
Full-text available
Dry-snow slab avalanches result from crack propagation in a highly porous weak layer buried within a stratified and metastable snowpack. While our understanding of slab avalanche mechanisms improved with recent experimental and numerical advances, fundamental micro-mechanical processes remain poorly understood due to a lack of non-invasive monitori...
Preprint
Full-text available
Dry-snow slab avalanches result from the propagation of compacting shear bands in highly porous weak layers buried within a stratified and metastable snowpack. While our understanding of slab avalanche mechanisms improved with recent experimental and numerical advances, fundamental micro-mechanical processes remain poorly understood due to a lack o...
Article
Full-text available
Porous brittle solids have the ability to collapse and fail even under compressive stresses. In fracture mechanics, this singular behavior, often referred to as anticrack, demands for appropriate continuum models to predict the catastrophic failure. To identify universal controls of anticracks, we link the microstructure of a porous solid with its...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. Snow avalanches cause fatalities and economic damages. Key to their mitigation entails the understanding of snow avalanche dynamics. This study investigates the dynamic behaviors of snow avalanches, using the Material Point Method (MPM) and an elastoplastic constitutive law for porous cohesive materials. By virtue of the hybrid Eulerian-L...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the physical processes involved in snow avalanche obstacle interaction is essential to be able to estimate the pressure exerted on structures. Although avalanche impact pressure has been measured in field experiments for decades, the underlying physical principles are still elusive. Previous studies suggest that pressure is increased...
Article
Full-text available
Dry-snow slab avalanches start with the formation of a local failure in a highly porous weak layer underlying a cohesive snow slab. If followed by rapid crack propagation within the weak layer and finally a tensile fracture through the slab, a slab avalanche releases. While the basic concepts of avalanche release are relatively well understood, per...
Article
Full-text available
Snow slab avalanches start with a failure in a weak snow layer buried below a cohesive snow slab. After failure, the very porous character of the weak layer leads to its volumetric collapse and thus closing of crack faces due to the weight of the overlaying slab. This complex process, generally referred to as anticrack, explains why avalanches that...
Article
Full-text available
The wind‐driven saltation of granular material plays a key role in various geophysical processes on Earth, Mars, Venus, and Titan. Although interparticle cohesion is known to limit the number of grains lifted from the surface through aerodynamic entrainment and granular splash, the role of cohesion in the development of saltation from onset to stea...
Article
Full-text available
Dry-snow slab avalanches start with the formation of a local failure in a highly porous weak layer underlying a cohesive snow slab. If followed by rapid crack propagation within the weak layer and finally a tensile fracture through the slab appears, a slab avalanche releases. While the basic concepts of avalanche release are relatively well underst...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Improving the prediction of snow avalanches requires a detailed understanding of the fracture behavior of snow as dry-snow slab avalanche release is a multi-scale fracture process. In principle, avalanches start with the formation of a localized failure in a highly porous weak snow layer underlying a cohesive snow slab, which can be followed by rap...
Article
Dry-snow slab avalanche release is the result of failure initiation in a weak snowpack layer buried below a cohesive snow slab, which is then followed by rapid crack propagation. The Propagation Saw Test (PST) is a field experiment which allows to evaluate the critical crack length for the onset of crack propagation and the propagation distance. Al...
Article
Full-text available
The failure of a weak snow layer underlying a cohesive slab is the primary step in the release process of a dry snow slab avalanche. The complex and heterogeneous microstructure of snow limits our understanding of failure initiation inside the weak layer, especially under mixed-mode shear-compression loading. Further complication arises from the de...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Dry-snow slab avalanche release is a multi-scale fracture process. It starts with the formation of a localized failure in a highly porous weak snow layer underlying a cohesive snow slab, followed by rapid crack propagation within the weak layer and finally a tensile fracture through the slab leading to its detachment. About 15 years ago, the propag...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Snow slab avalanches start with the failure of a weak snow layer buried below a cohesive snow slab. After failure, the very porous character of the weak layer leads to its volumetric collapse and thus closing of crack faces due to the weight of the overlaying slab. This complex process, generally referred to as anticrack, explains why avalanches ca...
Article
Full-text available
Dry-snow slab avalanches release due to the formation of a crack in a weak layer buried below cohesive snow slabs, followed by rapid crack propagation. The onset of rapid crack propagation occurs if stresses at the crack tip in the weak layer overcome its strength. In this study, we use the finite element method to evaluate the maximum shear stress...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Snow avalanches are a major hazard in mountainous areas and have a significant impact on infrastructures, economy and tourism of such regions. Obtaining a thorough understanding on the pressure exerted by avalanches on infrastructures is crucial for the development of design criteria so that they can withstand avalanche impact. Avalanches are chara...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Dry-snow slab avalanche release is a multi-scale fracture process. It starts with the formation of a localized failure in a highly porous weak snow layer underlying a cohesive snow slab, followed by rapid crack propagation within the weak and finally a tensile fracture through the slab leading to its detachment. We have gained a reasonable amount o...
Article
Full-text available
We have conducted discrete element simulations (PFC3D) of very loose, cohesive, granular assemblies with initial configurations which are drawn from Baxter's sticky hard sphere (SHS) ensemble. The SHS model is employed as promising auxiliary means to independently control the coordination number z_c of cohesive contacts and particle volume fraction...
Article
Full-text available
Dry-snow slab avalanches start with a local failure in a weak snowpack layer buried below cohesive snow slab layers. If the size of the failed zone exceeds a critical size, rapid crack propagation occurs possibly followed by slab release if the slope is steep enough. The probability of skier-triggering a slab avalanche is generally characterized by...