The 4th International Symposium on Danxia Landform 18-22 August 2019

The IAG Working Group on Red Beds and Danxia Geomorphology is hosing the 4th International Symposium on Danxia Landform (joint with the 19th National Academic Symposium of Red Beds and Danxia Landform Yan’an Tourism Development Conference) from 18-22 August 2019 in Yan’an, Shaanxi, China. All papers (and abstracts) should be submitted to the conference liaison office via e-mail before July 20, 2019 with the maximum length of eight A4 pages (including figures and tables). For further details on the conference please see the first announcement here.

Obituary for Dietrich Barsch by Olaf Bubenzer, Bernhard Eitel and Wilfried Haeberli

Dietrich Barsch died on 23 May 2018, shortly before his 82nd birthday.  Born in Erfurt, Germany, Dietrich Barsch established the basis for his scientific career with studies in Geography, Mathematics, Philosophy and Geology at the Universities of Kiel and Bonn, Germany. After having obtained his PhD in 1962 at the University of Bonn, he moved to the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he achieved his habilitation in 1968.  Following intermittent research stays in Baton Rouge and Tempe (USA) he became professor at the University of Kiel in 1972 and in 1974 resumed the chair of Geography at the University of Heidelberg, Germany until his retirement from active service on 30 October 1998 for sudden health problems.

Dietrich Barsch was a highly dynamic scientist with extraordinary charisma. He had a remarkable ability to shape his scientific surrounding and to inspire his scholars. His greatest passion was devoted to cold mountains  (Alps, Andes, Scandinavia) and the Antarctic. A milestone in the history of high-mountain geomorphology was the introduction and application of precise field measurements such as drilling, geophysics or photogrammetry as part of his advanced studies on cohesive creep and viscous flow of ice-rich permafrost, the so-called rock glaciers. He thereby became one of the promoters of modern geomorphological research considering – based on focused field experiments – material properties, physical/chemical conditions, processes, space and time as elements to understand complex land-forming processes. His early work in this domain indeed triggered a spectacular and continued expansion and progress in permafrost and rock glacier research among the younger generations. He also initiated the Priority Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG) on Geomorphological Mapping in the Federal Republic of Germany (1976-1984) and contributed essentially to the DFG-Priority Programme on Fluvial Geomorphodynamics in the Younger Quaternary. In parallel to such work, Dietrich Barsch and his research team carried out numerous application-oriented studies, for instance about decentralised flood protection and various hydrological questions in the wider surroundings of Heidelberg. This spectrum made him one of nationally as well as internationally most widely recognized representative not only of Geomorphology but also of Geoecology. A reflection of this is the title of his seminal book “Rock-glaciers. Indicators for the Present and Former Geoecology in High Mountain Environments”.

At national as well as international level, Dietrich Barsch was an excellent networker. He assumed the functions of the chair of the German Working Group for Geomorphology (1986-1990), chair of the German Society of Geography (1989-1991) and chair of the International Association of Geomorphologists (1993-1997). He also served the University of Heidelberg as Dean of the Faculty of Geosciences and as chair of the University Governing Board. He was repeatedly honoured for his performances. In 2005 the Ferdinand-von-Richthofen Medal was awarded to him in view of his outstanding merits for research in geomorphology. This put him in a row with famous scientists of the 20th century like Sven Hedin or Erich von Drygalsky. Beyond his unexpected health-induced end of active research and teaching he kept an uninterrupted interest in the development of physical geography.  The memory of his innovative and stimulating personality will accompany us.

Olaf Bubenzer and Bernhard Eitel, Heidelberg; Wilfried Haeberli, Zürich

Obituary for Dietrich Barsch by Roland Mäusbacher and Lothar Schrott

Prof. Dr. Dietrich Barsch passed away on the 23rd of May 2018, shortly before his 83rd birthday. He was an internationally renowned Geomorphologist but also a dedicated representative in the field of Geography. Between 1989 and 1993 he was the chairman of the Central Association of Geography (Zentralverband der Geographie) and the Association of University Teachers of Geography (Verband der Hochschullehrer der Geographie). During this time of reunification of both German states, the realignment of the former German Democratic Republic institutions and their inclusion to the Association was close to his heart, especially as he originated in Erfurt. Many conversations with the colleagues in the Geography departments, the university management and ministries have helped to preserve the existing departments and even to re-establish them. At the same time, he became vice president of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) and the organization’s president for the following four years. During his presidency, he succeeded, along with Denys Brunsden and Olav Slaymaker, to integrate the IAG into the International Council of Scientific Unions in order to raise the international awareness of Geomorphology.
His scientific career started in Bonn, where he received his doctorate from Carl Troll in 1962. He then moved to Basel, where he habilitated in 1968 with his geomorphologic work on the central Bernese Jura. Since then, periglacial research, in particular the comprehensive analysis of rock glaciers and mountain permafrost, has been one of his main research fields.

In 1972, he was offered a professorship in Kiel but changed two years later to a full professorship in Heidelberg. From 1976-1982, he directed the priority program of the DFG “Geomorphological Mapping of the Federal Republic of Germany” whose aim was to create geomorphological maps in the scales 1:25,000 and 1:100,000 of typical landscapes of the Federal Republic of Germany. A total of 45 sample sheets have been published. Apart from implementing of the legend, Dietrich Barsch was also committed to the application-oriented and computer-aided evaluation.

Other important aims in his scientific career were focusing mainly on Arctic regions and non-European high mountain ranges. He led a total of five expeditions, two of them to the Arctic (Ellesmere Island in 1978, Spitsbergen in 1990) and three to Antarctica (Kind George Island), as well as repeated visits to the Andes, Himalayas and Rocky Mountains. Together with Nel Caine he published a pioneering paper in 1984 regarding the systemic understanding of High Mountain Geomorphology. As a member of the Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research (SCAR), he contributed greatly to geographic polar research.

Since the end-1980s, fluvial geomorphodynamics represented a further focus. His main research area was the Elsenz-catchment near Heidelberg, where various questions regarding hydrology (interflow), sediment budget and paleo-ecology have been investigated within the framework of different DFG projects. Also the Svalbard Project SPE90 focused on questions of current fluvial dynamic. In 1996, his highly respected book “Rockglaciers” was published.

Apart from his research, Dietrich Barsch dedicated himself intensively to the academic teaching and self-administration. Therefore, he was multiple times acting director of the Department of Geography and twice faculty director of Geosciences at the University of Heidelberg. The numerous diploma and doctoral theses, which evolved under his supervision, reveal that the promotion of young scientists has always been very important to him. Dietrich Barsch knew, as only few university teachers do, how to arouse the interest of students in scientific challenges. His authentic passion for the discipline and his charisma captivated countless students. He quickly recognized the abilities of his students and encouraged them with the right mix of motivation and trust. Depending on the potential of his students, he was able to develop customized suggestions and solutions. Even in difficult situations, such as on excursions or under adverse conditions during research stays, he not only kept the overview and calm but also exuded by his positive attitude and optimism a confidence which provided cohesion and harmony. Dietrich Barsch has given his students great freedom – “you cannot carry the dog to hunt” was a frequently-used saying from his repertoire. Inextricably linked with Dietrich Barsch was also his trademark at the university – he always wore a bow tie with a white shirt, a professor of the old school. Many of his former graduate students have remained true to academia and have become renowned professors themselves. They have further developed his scientific foci and preferences, which were particularly located in the periglacial and fluvial geomorphology.

Due to an illness, Dietrich Barsch was suddenly torn from his job shortly before his 60th birthday. His colleagues and many students are still grateful for the time of his active work. Dietrich Barsch will remain in our memory as a highly esteemed university teacher and scientist.

For his contributions to Geomorphology, he received the Richthofen Medal of the German Working Group for Geomorphology (Deutscher Arbeitskreis für Geomorphologie) in 2005.


Roland Mäusbacher (Jena) and Lothar Schrott (Bonn)


2nd CIRCULAR for 11th Workshop of the IAG/AIG SEDIBUD Working Group – Baru (Hunedoara County, Romania), 5-8 September 2017


Changing climate and vegetation cover influence sediment dynamics and budgets in high latitude and high altitude cold environments. Interdisciplinary research involving various scientific fields is needed, to better understand the spatio-temporal patterns of geomorphic process activity operating under climate change and varying vegetation cover conditions in the wide range of cold climate environments worldwide.

The 11th IAG/AIG SEDIBUD (Sediment budgets in Cold Environments) Workshop “Relationships between climate change, vegetation cover and sediment fluxes in high latitude/high altitude cold environments” will offer an opportunity for participants to discuss the effectiveness of geomorphic processes under past and present-day climate conditions, by focusing on the complex interactions between the erosional, sediment transfer and depositional processes and the varying vegetation cover. The workshop will be held between 5 – 8 September, 2017 at the Research Station of the Babeş-Bolyai University (UBB), located in Baru, Hunedoara County, Romania.

A one-day field trip will be organized in Parâng Mountains (Southern Carpathians), during which the participants will be presented the morphoclimatic context of the Carpathians alpine areas. Several study sites with past and present-day geomorphic process activity (rockfalls, rock avalanches, debris flows, snow-avalanches, periglacial activity etc.) and the associated landforms will be visited during the field-trip day.

For further information on the Workshop, please visit the IAG SEDIBUD Working Group webpage

EGU Alexander von Humboldt Medal 2016 to JEAN W. A. POESEN

The EGU 2016 Alexander von Humboldt Medal is awarded to Jean W. A. Poesen for exceptionally significant work in developing regions in providing superb scientific expertise in managing pressures on land originating from producing food and fuel for growing populations.

From the EGU medals 2016 webpage:

The Alexander von Humboldt Medal awards scientists with exceptional international standing who have performed research in developing regions for the benefit of people and society. Jean Poesen of KU Leuven, Belgium, personifies these criteria superbly. He has dedicated much of his career to capacity building of soil scientists from developing countries. Although his early work addressing the management of nutrient and soil loss from agricultural watersheds focused on erosion on the highly erodible Belgian loess, it soon expanded into many other areas of Europe, Africa and South America. The scientific research work of Poesen in northern Ethiopia, Uganda, Ecuador, Tanzania and elsewhere – carried out with many local young scientists – is unrivalled and has led to many landmark papers. In one widely cited paper published more than a decade ago, he recognised the need to put more emphasis on loss of soil by gullies compared to sheet and rill erosion and formulated an action plan to start this research. His impressive scientific expertise has greatly helped many developing countries to manage the pressure on land and soil to produce food, fuel and fibre for rapidly growing populations. In this context, Poesen pioneered outreach in a cooperative mode, helping to adopt local practice and working jointly with stakeholders on feasible and sustainable solutions. He has truly become a gifted ambassador for translating research results into practice, producing benefits for local communities. The services of Poesen to the scientific community are varied. They include being chief editor of Catena, member of the editorial board of 25 international journals, chairman of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven, organiser and co-organiser of more than 20 international conferences, and initiator of the first symposium on gully erosion. He is a member of the Royal Flemish Belgium Academy for Science and the Arts and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. In addition, he has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Wolverhampton, UK, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, Romania, and the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland.”

J-C FLAGEOLLET AWARD – Call for CERG Grant for GM and NH Sessions at EGU 2016

The European Centre on Geomorphological Hazards (CERG) – Council of Europe ( is advertising a Call for Grant issued in recognition and memory of the outstanding research and training activity carried out in the field of geomorphological hazards by Professor Jean-Claude Flageollet (University of Strasbourg, France), who was also CERG founder and regretfully passed away in 2014.
The JCF Award, consisting of a grant of 400 euros, will be offered to a PhD student whose research project focuses on geomorphological hazards (landslides, floods, coastal erosion), and who have submitted an abstract to a relevant geomorphological session (Geomorphology Division – GM ) or natural hazard session (Natural Hazards Division – NH).
The online application form is available at:
The deadline for applications is 15 MARCH 2016.

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – IAG Proposed Sessions at the 33rd IGC – Beijing 2016

The International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG/AIG) is a scientific organisation, whose principal objectives are the development and promotion of geomorphology as a science through international co-operation and dissemination of knowledge of geomorphology. It will organise four Geomorphology sessions at the 33rd International Geographical Congress with the aim to strengthen links between geomorphologists and the community of Geographers. The IAG Proposed Sessions are mostly focused on the links between geomorphology and society.


Selection Completed for IAG Grants – BSG Post-graduate Training Workshop 2015!

The international committee appointed by the IAG completed the selection for IAG Grants addressed to PhD STUDENTS in GEOMORHOLOGY from EUROPE (except UK) who were willing to take part in the BSG Post-Graduate Training Workshop (Windsor, UK, 7-10 December 2015).
2 GRANTS of 250 (two-hundred-fifty) euros each have been awarded to the following PhD Students in Geomorphology selected among 14 eligible applicants from 6 countries:
Ilenia Maria D’ANGELI (Italy)
Ticar JURE (Slovenia)


5th National Meeting of the Italian Association of Physical Geography and Geomorphology (AIGeo) – Cagliari, Italy, September 28-30, 2015


The Italian Association of Physical Geography and Geomorphology (AIGeo) organizes every tree years a National Conference. The 5th Conference will be held in Cagliari from 28 to 30 September 2015.


AIGeo gives a large importance to the growth of young researches and periodically organizes a Young Geomorphologists’ Day. The aim of this event is to support young researchers’ growth also through direct exchanges of scientific results and research methods in Geomorphology. The 5th AIGeo National Conference will also host the:

6th Young Geomorphologist’s Day