Knowledge of processes and factors affecting slope instability is essential for detecting and monitoring potentially hazardous slopes. The overall aim of this study is to detect and characterize different slope movements in alpine periglacial environments, with the ultimate goal to understand the broad range of phenomena and processes encountered. In this article, a potential strategy for analyzing the spatio-temporal (seasonal and intra-annual) velocity fluctuations of various slope movements is explained and initial results are presented.
GPS (Global Positioning System) devices have been developed and deployed to continuously measure the velocity of slope movements within an Alpine study site. The measurement devices have the potential to operate for several years. Since December 2010, first devices are successfully measuring. Based on these measurements, high-accuracy daily differential GPS-positions and the corresponding velocities are calculated. A steep rockglacier tongue showed a steady decrease in velocity in winter and a strong acceleration in May during the snowmelt period. These first results demonstrate the importance of continuous (here daily) measurements over longer periods and their potential to enable the inference of factors and processes controlling slope movement.