Simon Löw: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2021

Name Prof. em. Dr. Simon Löw
Name variantsSimon Loew
Geologisches Institut
ETH Zürich, NO G 69.2
Sonneggstrasse 5
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 633 32 31
DepartmentEarth Sciences
RelationshipProfessor emeritus

651-3525-AALIntroduction to Engineering Geology
Enrolment ONLY for MSc students with a decree declaring this course unit as an additional admission requirement.

Any other students (e.g. incoming exchange students, doctoral students) CANNOT enrol for this course unit.
3 credits6RS. Löw
AbstractThis introductory course starts from a descriptions of the behavior and phenomena of soils and rocks under near surface loading conditions and their key geotechnical properties. Lab and field methods for the characterization of soils, rocks and rock masses are introduced. Finally practical aspects of ground engineering, including tunneling and landslide hazards are presented.
ObjectiveUnderstanding the basic geotechnical and geomechanical properties and processes of rocks and soils. Understanding the interaction of rock and soil masses with technical systems. Understanding the fundamentals of geological hazards.
ContentRock, soil and rock mass: scale effects and fundamental geotechnical properties. Soil mechanical properties and their determination. Rock mechanical properties and their determination. Fractures: geotechnical properties and their determination. Geotechnical classification of intact rock, soils and rock masses. Natural and induced stresses in rock and soil. Interaction of soil masses with surface loads, water and excavations. Slope instability mechanisms and stability analyses. Underground excavation instability mechanisms and rock deformation. Geological mass wasting processes.
Lecture notesLecture Material as defined in German PPT Slides of the German Course “651-3525-00L Ingenieurgeologie”.
LiteratureFor English speakers study chapters 1-3 of Part I of the book “Geological Engineering” (Gonzalez de Vallejo & Ferrer 2011, CRC Press), without groundwater flow, consolidation time, geophysical methods, details of triaxial tests in soils and rocks, details of clay mineralogy.
Prerequisites / NoticeParticipate on all exercises of “651-3525-00L Ingenieurgeologie”, Thursday 13-14 pm.
Participate in Written Exam together with students of the German Course
651-4068-00LEngineering Geology Seminar Information 2 credits2SS. Löw, Q. Lei
AbstractThe seminar includes external and internal lectures on ongoing research topics and the presentation and defence of own MSc thesis research results. In addition students have the opportunity to make new contacts with researchers and practitioners, and get an understanding of the international engineering geology community.
ObjectiveThe students get an insight into selected research & development topics in engineering geology, hydrogeology and geothermics. The students present and discuss their MSc thesis research results topic with a larger scientific audience.
ContentThis seminar includes internal and guest lectures related to engineering geology and hydrogeology research topics and presentations of the MSc thesis project results. Students have to attend 8 guest lectures in total during semester 2 and/or 4 and present and defend their own research results in semester 4. They keep a record of the attended guest lectures (using a prepared confirmation sheet).
Lecture notesThe course offers guidelines how to orally present scientific results.
Prerequisites / NoticeCompleted and accepted research plan. Significant results of own MSc thesis work.
651-4070-00LLandslide Analysis Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 18.
5 credits3GS. Löw, J. Aaron
AbstractThis course is about the analysis of landslide phenomena, mechanisms, stability and hazard mitigation. The course is focussed on case studies covering major landslide types in the Alps (rock fall, shallow soil slides, rock slides and topples, and deep seated landslides). The course makes use of a new blended e-learning environment and includes compulsory field trips to the study sites.
ObjectiveThe overall aim of the course is to prepare students for dealing with real-world landslide and slope stability problems. Students will gain knowledge and application experience in the field recognition, mapping and monitoring of landslides, the appropriate use of slope stability analysis methods, and the writing of landslide investigation reports. With this experience students may enter the professional workplace or research environment with modern skills and the confidence to tackle similar problems alone.
ContentThe major types of landslides are introduced in face-to-face lectures. For every landslide type a case study is introduced which illustrates typical tasks and approaches of professionals working in the field of landslide hazard analysis and mitigation. All case studies include field visits focussing on geological conditions, morphological features, geotechnical properties and field measurements. In the lab we discuss appropriate geological and kinematic models, triggers, stability, failure processes and mitigation mechanisms. The results of the case studies are documented in reports which are the basis for the course evaluation.
Lecture notesThe course includes self study of landslide fundamentals supported by web-based e-learning materials, and audio-supported power-point-lectures. The case study analyses are supported by field handbooks, field data and analysis programs.
LiteratureSidle, R.C. & Ochiai H. 2006: Landslides, Processes, Prediction and Land use. AGU Books, Water Resources Monograph 18
Transportation Research Board 1996: Landslides, Investigation and Mitigation. Special Report 247. Turner A.K. & Schuster R.L. eds. National Academic Press Washington D.C.
Prerequisites / NoticeExcursions are an integral part of this course. The dates of the excursions are published on
651-4072-00LEngineering Geology of Underground Excavations Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 18.
5 credits3GS. Löw, O. Moradian
AbstractThis course deals with the geological activities related to underground excavations (field investigations, route selection, geological models and hazards, geotechnical properties, rock mass behavior, groundwater & environmental impacts). The course focuses on problem solving skills (trained in a Lötschberg Base Tunnel case study, including report writing).
ObjectiveIn this course the student shall become familiar with the most important tasks an engineering geologist has to carry out in the context of planning and building an underground excavation or tunnel. The student will learn how to integrate the knowledge gained during the fundamental and methods courses for the design of underground constructions in various project phases (including report writing).
ContentMajor Tasks of Engineering Geologist in Underground Constructions, Project Phases and Logistic Constraints of Various Types Underground Constructions, Ground Behaviour in Underground Constructions (Rock and Soil), Groundwater and Environmental Impacts of Underground Constructions; Exploration Methods. Case Study Lötschberg Base Tunnel.
Lecture notesA script is available in the form of a few review publications.
LiteratureRichard Goodman 1993: Engineering Geology, Rock in Engineering Construction, John Whiley and Sons.
Evert Hoek 2007: Practical Rock Engineering, Course Notes, www
Prerequisites / NoticeThe Lötschberg Case Study forms a key component of this integration course. Students will learn (1) how to carry out preliminary investigations related to tunnel design, (2) how to select the tunnel route, (3) how the describe the geotechnical and hydrogeological conditions, (4) how to qualitatively and quantitatively assess geological hazards, rock mass behavior and environmental impacts, and (5) how write geological, geotechnical and hydrogeological reports. A day field trip to the study area (March 15) and a tunneling site (May 19) is included in the course.
651-4276-00LAlpine Engineering Geological Excursions Information
Priority is given to D-ERDW students (Major in Engineering Geology). If space is available UZH Geography and Earth System Sciences students may attend this field course at full cost.

No registration through myStudies. The registration for excursions and field courses goes through only.
1 credit2PS. Löw, J. Aaron
AbstractThis course includes 4 days of specialized engineering geologic excursions that are offered by the chair of engineering geology. Topics include visits to landslides and to ongoing construction and research sites (landslides, tunnels, hydropower systems, foundations, roads, waste disposal sites) in the Swiss and Italian Alps.
ObjectiveIncrease the amount of field exposure and field experience in alpine engineering geology.
Prerequisites / NoticeOnly new excursions can be selected, that have not been taken in previous study years, or that are not included as compulsory excursions in other selected courses.

Students registering for the course confirm having read and accepted the terms and conditions for excursions and field courses of D-ERDW
669-0200-00LSpring Course: Characterisation and Behaviour of Rock and Soil Restricted registration - show details
Does not take place this semester.
Only for CAS in Angewandten Erdwissenschaften.
2 credits2GS. Löw, I. Anastasopoulos
669-0201-00LProject Module: Geo-Constructions Restricted registration - show details
Does not take place this semester.
Only for CAS in Angewandten Erdwissenschaften.
2 credits1SS. Löw
669-0301-00LProject Module: Geo-Risks Restricted registration - show details
Only for CAS in Angewandten Erdwissenschaften.
2 credits1SS. Wiemer, S. Löw, H. Willenberg
AbstractIn the project module of the module group Geo-Risks the participants create a common course script for the spring and autumn course in online cooperation.