Interest, Vision and Field Work

My research interests concern mountain environments and climate change, especially

  • steep alpine permafrost
  • cryosphere control on slope movement and stability in heterogeneous alpine cryosphere
  • process understanding and quantification of phenomena in mountain permafrost with sensor instrumentation, measurements and models.

The vision for my research is to understand, to quantify and to model processes in mountain permafrost (e.g. frost weathering at different depth) combining lab experiments and field measurements in high mountain environments (e.g. acoustic emission, temperature and capacitance for moisture). For this, the combination of geo-science and engineering is very useful and enables field measurements at locations in difficult to access environments.

I greatly enjoy doing field work in alpine environments and being able to combine my knowledge as well as my experience with my alpine skills.

Publications and presentations

PhD thesis

  • Weber, S. 2018. Rock slope dynamics in bedrock permafrost: insights across scales. University of Zurich, Faculty of Science. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.2552149.

Peer-review journals

  • Weber, S., Beutel J., Da Forno R., Geiger A., Gruber S., Gsell T., Hasler ., Keller ., Lim R., Limpach P., Meyer M., Talzi I., Thiele L., Tschudin C., Vieli A., Vonder Mühll D. and Yücel M. 2019. A decade of detailed observations (2008–2018) in steep bedrock permafrost at Matterhorn Hörnligrat (Zermatt, CH). Earth System Science Data. DOI: 10.5194/essd-11-1203-2019.
  • Meyer M., Farei-Campagna T., Pasztor A., Da Forno A., Gsell T., Weber S., Beutel J. and Thiele L. 2019. Event-triggered natural hazard monitoring with convolutional neural networks on the edge. Proceeding of the International Conference on Information processing in Sensor Networks, 16-18 April 2019, Montreal, Canada. DOI: 10.1145/3302506.3310390.
  • Tanski G., Bergstedt H., ..., Weber S., Lantuit H. 2019. The Permafrost Young Researchers Network (PYRN) is getting older: The past, present, and future of our evolving community. Polar Record. DOI: 10.1017/S0032247418000645.
  • Meyer M., Weber S., Beutel J. and Thiele L. 2019. Systematic identification of external influences in multi-year microseismic recordings using convolutional neural networks. Earth Surface Dynamics. DOI: 10.5194/esurf-7-171-2019.
  • Weber, S., Fäh, D., Beutel, J., Faillettaz, J., Gruber, S., and Vieli, A. 2018. Ambient seismic vibrations in steep bedrock permafrost used to infer variations of ice-fill in fractures. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.08.042.
  • Mamot, P., Weber, S., Schröder, T., and Krautblatter, M. 2018. A temperature- and stress-controlled failure criterion for ice-filled permafrost rock joints. The Cryosphere, 12, 3333-3353. DOI: 10.5194/tc-12-3333-2018.
  • Weber, S., Faillettaz, J., Meyer, M., Beutel, J., and Vieli, A. 2018. Acoustic and microseismic characterization in steep bedrock permafrost on Matterhorn (CH). Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. DOI: 10.1029/2018JF004615.
  • Weber, S., Beutel, J., Faillettaz, J., Hasler, A., Krautblatter, M., and Vieli, A. 2017. Quantifying irreversible movement in steep, fractured bedrock permafrost on Matterhorn (CH). The Cryosphere, 11, 567-583. DOI: 10.5194/tc-11-567-2017.
  • Girard L., Gruber S., Weber S. and Beutel J. 2013. Environmental controls of frost cracking revealed through in-situ acoustic emission measurements in steep bedrock. Geophysical Research Letters, 40(9), 1748-1753. DOI: 10.1002/grl.50384.
  • Girard L., Beutel J., Gruber S., Hunziker J., Lim R. and Weber S. 2012. A custom acoustic emission monitoring system to study freezing-induced mechanical damage in alpine rock-walls. Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 1,155-167. DOI: 10.5194/gi-1-155-2012.

Peer-review conference proceedings

  • Weber S., Gruber S., Girard L. and Beutel, J. 2012. Design of a measurement assembly to study in-situ rock damage driven by freezing. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Permafrost, 25–29 June 2012, Salekhard, Russia, 437-442. PDF [0.35 MB] .

Oral presentations (selection)

  • Weber S. 2019. Matterhorn: Ein Grenzsymbol von magischer Anziehungskraft. GEGZ-Vortragsreihe, January 9, 2019, Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Weber S. 2018. Acoustic and micro-seismic signal of rockfall on Matterhorn. 5th European Converence on Permafrost, June 24-28, 2018, Chamonix, France.
  • Weber S. 2016. Fracture dynamics in steep bedrock permafrost. AK Permafrost, Hamburg, Germany.
  • Weber S. 2014. Permafrost - ein unsichtbares Phänomen. Naturforschende Gesellschaft Oberwallis, Brig, Switzerland.
  • Weber S. 2014. PermaSense L1-GPS for kinematic monitoring. 4th European Conference on Permafrost, June 18-22, 2014, Évora, Portugal.
  • Weber S. 2013. Automatic monitoring system. SloMove, SLF Davos, Switzerland.
  • Weber S., Girard L., Gruber S. and Beutel J. 2012. Rock n' Ice. Understanding frost weathering in-situ. AK Permafrost, Potsdam, Germany.

Poster presentations

  • Weber S., Beutel J., Gruber S., Hasler A., Meyer M. and Vieli A. 2019. Cross validation of a multi-modal dataset describing temperature-induced rock slope dynamics. International Mountain Conference, September 8-12, 2019, Innsbruck, Austria. DOI: .
  • Weber S., Beutel J., Geiger A., Gruber S., Gsell T., Hasler A., Limpach P., Meyer M., Thiele L. and Vieli A. 2018. A decade of high-mountain permafrost data at Matterhorn Hörnligrat (Zermatt, CH). 10th AK Permafrost, November 30 - December 2, 2018, Bremerhaven, Germany. DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000323601 .
  • Weber S., Faillettaz J., Meyer M., Beutel J. and Vieli A. 2017. Characteristics of acoustic and micro-seismic signals in steep bedrock permafrost on Matterhorn, Switzerland. 15th Swiss Geoscience Meeting, November 17-18, 2017, Davos, Switzerland. DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000216540 .
  • Weber S., Beutel J., Faillettaz J., Hasler A., Krautblatter M. and Vieli A. 2016. Reversible and irreversible fracture deformation in steep fractured bedrock permafrost at Matterhorn. 11th International Conference on Permafrost, June 20-24, 2016, Potsdam, Germany. DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000323612 .
  • Beutel J., Weber S., Gsell T. 2016. The PermaSense Mountain Lab - Technology and infrastructure for an open permafrost data repository. 11th International Conference on Permafrost, June 20-24, 2016, Potsdam, Germany.
  • Weber S., Beutel J., Faillettaz J., Gruber S., Gsell T., Hasler A. and Vieli A. 2014. Measurement setup to investigate near surface failures in steep bedrock permafrost. 7th AK Permafrost, Ammersee, Germany. DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000323768 .
  • Weber S., Hasler A. and Beutel J. 2014. Statistical analysis of cleft dynamics in steep bedrock permafrost. 4th European Conference on Permafrost, June 19-21, 2014, Évora, Portugal. DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000094135 .
  • Weber S., Gruber S., Girard L. and Beutel, J. 2012. Acoustic emission measurement assembly to investigate rock damage driven by freezing. 10th International Conference on Permafrost, June 25-29, 2012, Salekhard, Russia. DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000058264 .


PermaSense: High-Alpine Permafrost Monitoring from Matthias Meyer on Vimeo.

PermaSense is a consortium of researchers and research projects bringing together different engineering and environmental research disciplines from several Swiss research institutions and companies. We develop, deploy and operate wireless sensing systems customized for long-term autonomous operation in high-mountain environments. Around this central element we develop concepts, methods and tools to investigate and to quantify the connection between climate, cryosphere (permafrost, glaciers, snow) and geomorphodynamics. Both the better understanding and the reliable observation of phenomena such as slope instability are of practical relevance and motivate close collaboration with public authorities. The long-term collaboration in this consortium develops solid interdisciplinary know-how, experience and networks in the participating institutions as well as in their national and international partners.