GEO9170 – Landslides and debris flows

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course introduces the physics of landslides occurring in rocks and soils. It will include an overview of rheological flows, granular flows, rock falls and topples, and other gravity mass flows. Basic concepts in friction, cohesion, shear strength, fluid mechanics and granular flow relevant for understanding the dynamics of slides as well as slope instability and slope failure problems will be introduced.

Learning outcome

You will gain a basic understanding of the physical processes that control landslides and debris flows and how they affect slide potential and run-out distance.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Some knowledge of geomechanics (geotechnics).

Recommended previous knowledge

GEO4130 – Engineering Geology and Geomechanics (discontinued) or equivalent

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with GEO4170 – Landslides and debris flow (continued)


Lectures, exercises, presentations, discussions.


Compulsory class exercises (counts 20%), seminar presentation on prescribed topic (counts 30%), final oral examination (counts 50%). All parts must be passed. All parts of assessment will be conducted in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

External auditor: Stein Bondevik

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course





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