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ETGR - Torrent erosion, snow and avalanches

  • Department : Eaux
  • Center : Grenoble

This research unit aims to devise tools for engineering and preventing natural hazards in mountains (avalanches, wind-driven snow movements, floods, debris flows, rockfalls and hazards relating to glaciers). It performs basic exploration into the formation, rheology and dynamic of flows.

The ETGR Research Unit

Physical and digital modelling is performed here, along with field and laboratory experiments. The other spheres of activity are: defence techniques, mapping and the development of information systems for managing natural hazards.

The unit manages tow databases on avalanches: EPA (Permanent Avalanche Survey) and the CLPA (Avalanche Map). It also carries out expert appraisals in France and abroad, helps compile technical guides and undertakes educational and public awareness actions. It draws on the knowledge of teams from other disciplines in the OHAX (Hydrology and Hydraulic structures) and REBX (water supply systems, purification and quality) research units to work around the RIVAGE (Hazards relating to rapid gravity movements, security of hydraulic works and vulnerabilities) research topic. In the organisational chart above, people whose names appear in italics work on the RIVAGE RT but are not part of the ETNA RU.

Research topics

Hazards relating to rapid gravity movement, security of hydraulics structures and vulnerabilities (RIVAGE)




Rheometry laboratory

Snow and avalanches

Partnerships/Teaching courses

  • Scientific and technical partnerships


Grenoble laboratories of Joseph Fourier University, the National Polytechnical Institute of Grenoble, the INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control), the CNRS (National Council for Scientific Research) and the IRD (Institute of Research for Development) – Rheology laboratory, LEGI, LGGE, LGIT, LTHE, IMAGIS GRAVIR, L3S), CETE LRPC Lyon (Lyon Centre for Technical Studies - Rock Mechanics Group), Central School of Lyon (LTDS), Paris School of Mines (Armines-CGI), National School of Rural Engineering, Water and Forest (ENGREF - GRESE), ENS (LPS), Polytechnical College of Marseille (IUSTI-GEP), ESPCI Paris (PMMH), IGA, Lyon National Institute of Applied Science (INSA Lyon - URGC, LMFA), Rennes National Institute of Applied Science (INSA  Rennes), Toulouse National Institute of Applied Science (INSA Toulouse - MIP), Institut de physique du Globe de Paris (LDSG), IPGS, Isto, Ladyss, LGP, LHA, LCPC (LMSGC), Météo France (CEN), ONF (including the mountain land restoration services - RTM), University of Caen (GEOPHEN), University of Rennes (GMCM), University of Saint-Etienne (LTSI), University of Savoy (CISM, EDYTEM, LGCA, LOCIE), HH RE (IRSTEA), EM RU (IRSTEA), Divided Environment Research group, Rhône Basin Workshop Area 


AVL List GMBH Graz, Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerche (IRPI), Fakultät für Bauingenieur und Vermessungswesen Karlsruhe (Institut für Wasserbau und Kulturtechnik), Freie Universität Berlin ,Instituo de Cartografia de Catalunya, Institut für Lawinen und Wilbachforschung - Schwerpunkt Lawinenforschung, Federal Research Institute on Forestry, Snow and Landscapes, including the Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Studies, Moscow State University (Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics), National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (Nagaoka Institute of Snow and Ice Studies), Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Lausanne Federal Polytechnical Collge, Regione Veneto, Dipartimento Foreste, Centro Sperimentale Valanghe e Difesa Idrogeologica, Technische Universität Graz (Institut für Breitbandkommunikation), University of Agadir, Universität fur Bodenkultur (Institute of Forest and Mountain Risk Engineering), Universitad de Barcelona (Departemento de Geologia Dinàmica, Geofísica Paleontologia), Università di Bologna (DISTART), Università di Padova (Dipartimento di Geologia, Paleontologia e Geofisica), Università di Pavia (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Idraulica Ambiantale) , Università di Torino (Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra), Universiteit Utrecht, University of Leeds (School of Geography), University of Montana

Partnerships – Institutional and economic


Ministry of Agriculture (including the General Directorate for Forest and Rural Affairs - DGFAR), Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development (including the Directorate for Preventing Pollution and Risks), Ministry of Research, commune authorities, regional authorities, winter sport resort managers, environmental development management authorities, road companies (SAPRR, SANEF, ESCOTA, etc.), ANENA (National Association for Snow and Avalanche Studies), EGIDE, EI Montagne, Fondation MAIF, GIP ANR (National Research Agency), Maccaferri (formerly France Gabion), ONF (National Forestry Office – including Mountain land restoration services - RTM), PGRN, RGCU, Transmontagne, York Neige, Société d’Aménagement Touristique de l’Alpe d’Huez


European Union, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Partnerships – involvement in governing bodies, networks and associations

AFPCN (French Association for the Prevention of Natural Disasters), ANENA, EGU, GDIN, IGS, MEDIN, ORE Draix, RNVO (Natural Hazards and Vulnerability of Structures) research platform, SHF


Research Unit Manager: Didier Richard
+33 (0)4 76 76 27 73
+33 (0)6 85 29 29 88
2 rue de la papeterie BP 76 38402 Saint Martin d'Hères Cedex