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PROSA (High-resolution measurements of morphodynamics in rapidly changing PROglacial Systems of the Alps

  • Hillshade of a digital elevation model of the proglacial area of the Gepatschferner glacier. Click to see an animation showing the retreat of the glacier between 2006 and 2014.

    PROSA is a geoscientific joint project funded by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the FWF (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung).


    The project’s goal is to conduct research in the effects of the ongoing glacier melt in the Alps on the development of landforms through erosion, transport and deposition of rock material. Debris flows, rock fall and floods are only some possible consequences that can develop or be reinforced from current climate warming in such high alpine systems. The project researches the system connections and system changes in the high altitude regions of the Alps as a consequence of very well visible changes in the glacial system from the perspectives of different disciplines. The results being won also serve an enhancement of human’s protection from natural hazards.
    In addition to geographers, also engineering geologists, glaciologist, geodesists and geophysicists participate in the project. Besides the leading University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, the universities of Halle, Erlangen and Munich (TU) in Germany and of Innsbruck and Vienna (TU) in Austria are involved in different sub-projects.

    The work on the project with a pursued time span of four years was begun in winter 2011/12. In 2013, we successfully applied for a follow-up period which will continue until the end of 2015.

    You will find summaries of the sub-projects and topical information on these pages.

  • Recent news

    • New video shows the first acquisition mission using our new mobile laserscanner (the device can be spotted at the snout of the helicopter). During the flight, the laserscanner was tested, and high-resolution aerial photos were acquired for SfM analysis. Video: M. Becht.
    • New videos showing increased rockfall activity at the "Schwarze Wand" (black wall) site (video1; video2) and time-lapse videos showing the movement of the Gepatschferner glacier at the icefall and near the snout. Time-lapse videos: WG Innsbruck.
    • January 2014: PROSA has been granted a follow-up period by the funding agencies DFG and FWF; so we will continue to work at least until the end of 2015. The next ALS survey campaigns are being planned, and we're continuing to evaluate the data and set up models. In late winter/spring avalanches will be mapped and sampled, and snow cover base temperature measurements for our permafrost map/model will be conducted
    • June 7th 2013: Heavy rainfall during the past few days and weeks has triggered increased activity of various geomorphic processes. Our colleagues from the University of Halle witnessed debris flows on the still partially snow covered lateral moraines of the Gepatschferner glacier:  => Video