Naturgefahren / Natural Hazards

Prof. Oliver Korup, PhD


Prof. Oliver Korup, PhD


Campus Golm | Haus 1 | Raum 1.19
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25
14476 Potsdam-Golm

Why Study Natural Hazards?

Our main motivation is prediction: we wish to make informed and useful statements about the locations, impacts, magnitudes, and frequencies of natural hazards. Our current work is concerned with the prediction of landslides and their triggers; the impacts of explosive eruptions on steep, forested landscapes; how rivers respond to earthquakes; and the formation and failure of natural dams.

CV Prof. Oliver Korup

Prof. Oliver Korup, PhD


Prof. Oliver Korup, PhD


Campus Golm | Haus 1 | Raum 1.19
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25
14476 Potsdam-Golm


Tree rings under the microscope (Image credits by Christian Mohr)

Great media coverage for Christian's new study

21 Oct 2021: Christian's paper on the signature of earthquakes in tree rings has been featured by Science and EOS.

Teaching in 2021 (Source:

We teach new classes in the winter term 2021!

25 Oct 2021: Click here to see an overview of our classes that we offer this semester, including brand-new classes in the CLEWS master's program.

Tree rings (source:

New Article: Trees Talk Tremor

Sep 25, 2021: Using isotopic and wood anatomic proxies, Christian's new study quantifies the impacts of earthquakes on soil water and tree growth.

Joaquin Ferrer (Credits: Joaquin Ferrer)

New team member: Joaquin Ferrer

On 01 Oct 2021, Joaquin Ferrer joined our research group. Joaquin will work on predicting large landslides from complex network. Welcome!

Chalk cliffs on Jasmund peninsula, Ruegen (Photo by Georg Veh)

Field classes 2021: Rügen and Harz

August / September 2021: Christian and Georg taught field classes for geoecologists and geographers in the Bachelor's program.

Glacier lake (Photo by Georg Veh)

New Article: Controls of outbursts of moraine-dammed lakes in the greater Himalayan region

July 12, 2021: Melanie published a study that explores the susceptibility of Himalayan glacier lakes to sudden outbursts.

EGU Logo

Geohazards @ EGU

23-26th April 2021: our group members Melanie, Elisabeth, and Georg will present their progress on flood modelling, landslide detection, and GLOF hazard.


New Book: Geomorphology and Natural Hazards

Oliver wrote a graduate level textbook that helps understand landscape change for disaster mitigation.

Lisa Luna

Outstanding Student Presentation Award for Lisa Luna

March 2021: Our group member Lisa won the prize for an excellent poster at the 2020 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Elisabeth Schönfeldt doing field work (Image from Elisabeth Schönfeldt)

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Feb 11, 2021: Lisa Luna and Elisabeth Schönfeldt will be presenting their research on landslides at the University of Potsdam's #WomenInScience event"

Wildfires (Mike Lewelling, National Park Service)

New Article: Cascading hazards in the aftermath of Australia's 2019/2020 Black Summer wildfires

Our working group contributed to a paper in Earth’s Future about cascading hazards after the Australian fire season 2019/20.

The Cryosphere Logo (

New article in discussion: Controls of outbursts of moraine-dammed lakes in the Himalayas

Melanie tests the effects of elevation, lake area and its rate of change, glacier-mass balance and monsoonality on sudden glacier lake outburst floods.

Rockslide in Patagonia (Image by Elisabeth Schönfeldt)

Award for Elli: best talk at the annual meeting of German geomorphologists

Sep 29: Elli convinced the committee with her talk "Giant slope failures as breeding grounds for earthflows in the Patagonian Andean foreland". Congrats!

Bayes' Theorem

New Article: Bayesian Geomorphology

Sep 07, 2020: Oliver published an article that introduces Bayesian methods to scientists concerned with Earth surface processes and landforms.

Lago Pueyrredón. Photo by E. Schönfeldt

New Article: Giant landslides of the Lago Pueyrredón valley in Patagonia, Argentina

Elisabeth and Oliver were involved in mapping, dating, and interpreting giant low-gradient landslides in glacial deposits around Lago Pueyrredón.

Landslides (source: Sciencemag)

New Article: How robust are landslide susceptibility estimates?

Oliver was involved in a study that investigated whether hillslopes become more or less prone for landslides after years of monitoring.

Earthflow in Patagonia (sketch by Elisabeth Schönfeldt)

New Article: Postglacial Patagonian mass movement in the Andean foreland

In her first PhD paper, Elisabeth analysed the role of water in triggering large earthflows in Patagonia during the late Holocene.

A tropical mountain river. Photo by O. Korup

New Article: Tropical Mountain Rivers

Oliver and Julia wrote a review article on the geomorphology of tropical mountain rivers, and their changes through the Quarternary.


Our courses in the summer term 2020

Apr 15, 2020: Our courses 'Naturgefahren: Grundlagen' and 'Wie natürlich sind Naturkatastrophen im Anthrophozän?' will be online until further notice.Please visit PULS and click here for more details.

Rock avalanche in Patagonia

Fieldwork in Patagonia

Feb 10-26, 2020: Our group member Elisabeth Schönfeldt has been on a field campaign in Argentinian Patagonia. Click here to read her impressions in the field.

Deutschlandfunk (source:

Our research in Deutschlandfunk

Jan 02, 2020: A reporter from Deutschlandfunk interviewed our group member Georg on our new study on glacier lake outburst floods (in german).

Glacier lake at below Brewster Glacier (Image credit: Oliver Korup).

New Article: Hazard from Himalayan glacier lake outburst floods

Dec 30, 2019: Click here to learn more about the return periods of catastrophic moraine-dam failures in the Himalayas.

Writing a scientific paper

Nov 21, 2019: Oliver shared his experience about the Do's and Don'ts when writing a scientific paper. Click here to see our notes that we took from revising two abstracts.

Lenka Tlapakova (image credits: Lenka Tlapakova)

Visiting guest scientist

Lenka Tlapakova from the University of Ostrava spends an ERASMUS exchange in our working group. She will focus on the role of the hillslope-channel coupling in the formation of fluvial terraces.

Landslides in the wake of earthquake (image credits:

Landslides @ AGU

Dec 13, 2019: Oliver will give a talk on Bayesian landslide models at the 2019 Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Image source: Elisabeth Schönfeldt

Fieldwork in Pokhara, Nepal

Oct 28: Our member Melanie Fischer is assessing flood risk for Nepal's second largest city Pokhara. Georg and Elisabeth (who has taken this image) help her to measure the geometry of the Seti River.

Disturbance-ecogeomorphic research across continents

Christian Mohr attended the 2019 Coastal Rainforest Margin Research Network workshop held in Juneau initiating new collaborations with CU Denver and U Washington.

Photo by Georg Veh

Geohazards @ Galileo Conference on extreme geomorphological events, Nepal

Oct 14-19: Five of us joined a conference focusing on perturbations of the earth surface by extreme events. The field trip led us to the catastrophic consequences from the 2015 Ghorka earthquake.

Opportunities for Bachelor's and Master's projects in our working group

Drone survey in Chile

Offer for a Master's project in our working group

Apr 01, 2021: We offer a Master's project on constraining the magnitudes of severe floods in Patagonia. Click here for more details.

Drone survey in Patagonia

Offer for a Master's project in our working group

Apr 01, 2021: We offer a Master's projects on carbon storage in temperate rainforests following disturbances.

Glacier flood in Peru 2012. Photo courtesy of Adam Emmer (

Offer for two Master projects on glacier floods in the Southern Andes

June 08, 2020: We are looking for motivated Master students who are keen in quantifying the magnitude and frequency of glacier floods in the Chilean Andes. Click here to see the full description.

Landslide in Chile (credits by C.H. Mohr)

Offer for a Master's project in our working group

Feb 10, 2020: We offer two new Master's projects in our working group. Project I aims at modeling biomass surcharge as potential landslide drivers. Click here for more details.

Atmospheric rivers in British Columbia

Offer for a Master's project in our working group

Feb 10, 2020: We offer two new Master's projects in our working group. Project II focuses on landslides caused by Atmospheric Rivers in British Columbia, Canada. Click here for more details.

Glacier lakes in Austria. Image source: Google Earth

Offer for a Bachelor thesis: Glacier lakes in the European Alps

25 Sep 2019: Click here for more information on a Bachelor thesis in our working group, focussing on multi-temporal mapping of glacier lakes in the European Alps from satellite imagery.

Rock avalanche in Alaska. Source:

Offer for two Master theses: Rock avalanches on glaciers

25 Sep 2019: Click here to see more information for two Master theses, focussing on the detection of large rock slope failures on glaciers in the Himalaya-Karakoram and Coast Mountains of Alaska.

Mountaineers climbing the Mt. Everest in 2019

Bachelor or Master thesis: Conquering Mount Everest

Oct 28, 2019: We offer a Bachelor or Master project to systematically explore incidents during high altitude mountaineering in the Himalayas associated with natural hazards.


Research topic

Find out more about the research topics of the working group.

Research projects

Research projects

Find more information about our current projects.