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, posters and presentations

Please visit the following page for a list of publications, posters and presentations:

Impressions of fieldwork


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.

The swaying Matterhorn

Ambient motion of the Matterhorn, stimulated by ambient seismic energy from the Earth, was measured with seismic stations installed on the summit and ridge of the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn is constantly in motion swaying back forth about once every 2 seconds, trembling at predictable modes of resonance. We used ambient vibration modal analysis and numerical eigenfrequency modeling to identify the fundamental resonance mode of the Matterhorn (0.43 Hz) with a high damping ratio of ~20%.

Mode 1: 0.43 Hz
Simulated mode 1 deformation (exaggerated).
Color map indicate relative modal displacements.
Mode 2: 0.46 Hz
Simulated mode 2 deformation (exaggerated).
Color map indicate relative modal displacements.

Matterhorn made audible

September 5, 2019: a day of continuous ambient vibration data recorded from the summit of the Matterhorn - speed up 80 times to become audible - the low tones are the gentle swaying of the peak, high cracks and pops are earthquakes and rock cracking events - select an hour and listen:

Source: Weber, Beutel, Häusler, Geimer, Fäh and Moore. Spectral amplification of ground motion linked to resonance of large-scale mountain landforms. Earth and Planetary Science Letters.