SwanRisk - Mass movements in Svaneti (Georgia)

Svaneti is a region in the Georgian Central Caucasus with partly severe land slides and rock falls as well as floods especially within the valley of the Enguri River which lead to numerous casualties and the destruction of roads. The valley of the Enguri River is the only connection on the ground to the Svanetian capital Mestia. Thus, villages in the Central Caucasus are often cut off due to the desctruction of roads, leading to temporare problems in supplying the people. Mass movements often cause blocking of roads, extending the time to reach a destination as well as lead to high additional costs due to the frequent reconstructions. They are not only direct threats for the people but also changes the ground- and seepage water regime which can cause an increase of the number of land slides and floods. The mass movements become more severy by the ongoing erosion which leads to the loss of the vegetation which, again, increases the erosion. Thus, it can be considered as a „self-energising“ process. The actually observed retreat of glaciers causes high rates of meltwater, a thawing of permafrost as well as an increasing winter precipitation. This processes lead to an in decrease of slope stabilities and change the hydrological regime.

Together with our Georgian partners we will carry out different geoscientifical investigations and install a monitoring system within the project which is funded by the the German Federal Ministery of Education and Research. You get more information about our work and the aim of the project here.