Masters Theses


“In July, 1991 a large rock fall avalanche type landslide occurred in the Rio Grande National Forest of southern Colorado only a few miles below the Continental divide. The debris flowed into the West Lost Trail Creek Valley damming West Lost Trail Creek. The purpose of this study was to conduct mapping of the landslide area and ascertain if the slide was a “Sturzstrom” rock fall avalanche, using kinematic and static equations to back- analyze the controlling physical properties at the time of failure, and to discuss the likely future behavior of the debris dam blocking the stream channel. Failure of this dam could impact recreational facilities and the Rio Grande Reservoir located a short distance downstream.

A Sturtzstrom is a particular type of rock fall avalanche which becomes fluid as it falls, spreading itself like a debris flow over flat surfaces and traveling greater distances than can be predicted with conventional limit-equilibrium slope stability evaluation methods. Threshold values for formation of Sturzstroms appear to be: a minimum volume of 500,000 m3, a fall height greater than 150 m, and a detachment surface inclined at least 25° from horizontal. Sturtzstroms often begin as rock falls, but as movement continues, the slide mass fragments into a wide range of angular particles ranging from pebble to boulder size. As the fluidized mass spills into the underlying valley, deposition begins increasing the ratio between slide volume and basal area. As this occurs the coefficient of friction increases until sufficient shear strength is regained to cause a sudden halt of the slide mass”--Abstract, page iii.


Rogers, J. David

Committee Member(s)

Cawlfield, Jeffrey D.
Luna, Ronaldo


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Geological Engineering


Two folded maps in the pocket of the manuscript are available here as supplemental material.


University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date

Fall 2002


vii, 50 pages, maps

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 47-48).

Geographic Coverage

Hinsdale County, Colorado


© 2002 Nicholas Holger Beckmann, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Landslides -- Colorado -- Hinsdale County
Geology -- Colorado -- Hinsdale County

Thesis Number

T 8125

Print OCLC #


Link to Catalog Record

Electronic access to the full-text of this document is restricted to Missouri S&T users. Otherwise, request this publication directly from Missouri S&T Library or contact your local library.

Beckmann_Nicholas_2002_Plate_1.tif (292588 kB)
Landslide Map

Beckmann_Nicholas_2002_Plate_2.tif (283417 kB)
Geologic Map

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