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Natural Hazards Monitoring and Risk Mitigation


Principles of Monitoring of Hazardous Geodynamic and Glaciohydrometeorological Processes in the Areas of Strategically Important for Economics of Georgia Objects and Recommendations on Hazard Mitigation

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Geological Institute, Georgia, Tbilisi

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Hydrometeorology, Georgia, Tbilisi


  • Kyoto University / Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Japan, Kyoto\nCivil Engineers' Society of Niedersachen, Germany, Oldenburg\nState University of New York University at Buffalo, USA, NY, Buffalo

Project summary

Increasing scopes of international economic cooperation, related to the changes of geopolitical situation in the world gave possibility of effective use of the territory of the South Caucasus and, in particular, Georgia situated at the intersection on of the East-West and North-South transport routes connecting different regions of the Eurasian continent.

The territory of Georgia, as well as the Caucasus on the whole, is characterized by very complex geological and geomorphological structure, a variety of climatic and hydrometereological conditions, and a high level of seismic activity. The high degree of relief dissection, well-expressed vertical zonality of natural conditions, significant influence of hydrometereological processes - all these factors together condition the intensive development of recent geodynamic and glacial-hydrometereological processes. All these processes make the territory highly vulnerable to risk from various natural hazardous events (NHE) - landslides, rock falls, debris flows, snow flows, and, periodically repeating, strong earthquakes. Each of these NHE causes great material damage, and sometimes losses of human lives. As a rule, all these events are closely interrelated. For instance, strong earthquakes are often accompanied by numerous landslides, rock falls, debris flows. Nearly all the territory of Georgia including, its populated areas, railways and roads, communication lines, agricultural lands, forests, etc. are annually subjected to hazardous and destructive effects of NHE. Especially active they become in winter periods when they interrupt traffic on roads and railways and cause losses of life.

Developing new transport routes will undoubtedly result in the intensification of construction of industrial and civilian objects and infrastructure in this zone. Transport routes and all other accompanying industrial and civilian objects must be constructed in such a manner to reduce to minimum. possible risk caused by natural geological and glacial-hydrometereological processes and events In its turn, intensification of technological activities may adversely affect the environment and result in the activation of NHE.

Georgian scientists, including the participants of the project, for many years have been carried out active and fruitful researches on NHE and collected voluminous factual material.

On the basis of these researches a number of effective methods of assessing parameters and scopes of NHE have been worked out, and practical recommendations on the effective preventive measures have been made. As to the implementation of these recommendations and proposed preventive measures in practice, there were always considerable difficulties related to bureaucratic disconnection of researchers, insufficient financing, poor equipment and, above all, the secret status of researchers and impossibility of exchanging information with scientists from other countries.

The project will create a solid scientific methodological base for further works with a view to provide, on a level with recent standards, necessary measures for reducing damage to human activity within the areas subjected to harmful influence of natural and technogenic events. The project will help attach the South Caucasus to the transport system connecting Europe and Asia and promote the economic and social reanimation of the region.

The objectives of the project: identifying and predicting risk caused by hazardous natural and technogenic processes and events, in monitoring regime, within the zones of strategically important for Georgia objects and international transport communications; increasing reliability and effectiveness of measures aiming at preventing and/or reducing damage (defining and compiling cartographic base for monitoring; identifying crucial factors of NHE; working out criteria of hazard assessment and methods of spatial-temporal prognosis; estimating scales and characteristic parameters of expected events; working out fundamental schemes of highly effective protecting constructions).

Importance of the project: as far back as 1987, the government of Georgia defined the volume of the most important anti-erosional steps for a period up to 2000. However, the proposed measures are not being fulfilled because, partially, of the absence of scientific-methodological base; besides, these steps neither provide for monitoring regime, nor the creation of automatic data bases and means of collecting information, nor effective protecting constructions.

Topicality of the proposed problems is stressed by the fact that in 1997 was held (in San Francisco) and in 2000 will be held (in Taiwan) International conferences on "Hazard mitigation from destructive debris flows" under the auspices of the U.S. Geological Survey and Department of Water Resources, where one of the project participants, G.I.Kherkheulidze, submitted reports. Three other project participants, S.Kuloshvili, G.Maisuradze and E.Tsereteli submitted papers to the 8th International Symposium on Landslides held in Cardiff, UK in June 2000, which were accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the Symposium. However, difficult economic situation in the country makes it impossible to Georgian scientists to take part in international scientific forums and use modern means of communications (fax, internet, etc.) in spite of the fact that many proposals of the project participants are included in the programs of fundamental and applied researches of the Georgian Academy of Sciences and Department on Science and Technology. Financial provision to one researcher is about US $ 25 a month with entire absence of means for business trips, field and expedition works, software, etc.

The project participants have considerable experience in dealing with the proposed problems. The results of their investigations have been published in numerous reports fulfilled under the thematic plans of Academy of Sciences and State Committee on Science and Technology of the USSR, in hundreds of articles and papers published in the former Soviet Union, Georgia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Turkey. Some participants have author's certificates and are the authors of a number of methodical documents and recommendations of highest normative level. The head of the project, M.A.Makarachvili, took part in working out the project "Eurasian transport corridor and the stable development" fulfilled with the financial support from fund "Eurasia" and International agency on industrial development (USA). Some publications by the participants of the project are listed below:

– G.Abesadze - Glaciological remote sensing monitoring. Thesis for a Doctor's degree. State University, Tbilisi, 1999.

– G.Gotsiridze - Study of geodynamic processes by remote sensing methods. Thesis for a Candidate's degree. State University, Tbilisi, 1996.
– S.Kuloshvili - Some problems of neotectonics and seismotectonics of the Caucasus in connection with its geodynamic situation. In: Geodynamic of the Caucasus. Nauka, Moscow, 1982.
– S.Kuloshvili, G.Maisuradze - Geological-geomorphological aspects of landsliding in Georgia (Central and Western Caucasus) (in press), Cardiff, 2000.
– G.Kherkheulidze. Debris flows. In: Hazardous hydrometereological events in the Caucasus. Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad, 1980.
– G.Maisuradze - Antropogene of the Caucasus. Proceedings of the Geological Institute. Geor.Aca.Sci., issue 101, Tbilisi, 1990.
– E.Tsereteli, L.Varazanashvili - Role of seismicity in the development of slope-gravitational processes in the Caucasus. Bologna, 1986.

The project is attributed to applied research in the course of which shall be:

1. Carried out detailed geological-geomorphological and seismotectonic investigations, special research on identification, assessment and predicting NHE with the use of aerial and space image interpretation and remote sensing; identified the nature and scope of information introduced into data banks and on the specialized maps and other cartographic materials; elaborated methods of collecting information necessary for monitoring, with the use of modern automatic systems and instruments.

2. Created the basis of cartographic synthesized model; worked out new base maps and compiled seismotectonic, morphostructural, geologic, seismic zonality maps and some other specialized maps of different scales expressing vulnerability of the territory of Georgia to various hazardous geodynamic and hydroglaciometereological processes (landslides, rock falls, debris- and snow flows, etc.).

3. Worked out recommendations and manuals on risk assessment of the most hazardous natural phenomena (earthquakes, landslides, rockfalls, debris- and snow flows) and methods of their identification, prediction and mitigation; selected reliable and effective protecting measures with the use of principally new and elaborated constructions; improved normatives of seismo-resisting design and construction.

The sphere of application of the research results:

– planning and realization of industrial and construction activity within the strategically important economic regions of Georgia and, in particular, along the Transcaucasian transport routes;

– identifying and predicting NHE with a view to take timely preventive measures;
– collecting information in monitoring regime in automated data banks for the further use by various state and private establishments, organizations and companies. After the completion of the project, its authors and collaborators together with all potential end – users intend to implement complex or multi-stage (geological, geomorphological, hydroglaciometeorological processes and events) monitoring in the regions subjected to NHE.

Realization of the ISTC's objectives.

The project will give opportunity to its performers, the Georgian scientists, having worked before on the instruction of various military departments, of using their qualification, knowledge and experience in the peaceful activity – in the field of optimization of engineering conditions in the course of construction and exploitation of strategic transcontinental transport international objects; in the field of assessment, predicting and preventing NHE risk, in the monitoring regime; in re-establishing cooperation with scientists and specialists of the world scientific community by means of joint investigations with collaborators, exchanging experience and scientific information, participating in international scientific forums, and publishing collective papers and reports.

Role of collaborators:

Discussing and consulting problems concerning monitoring provision with advanced technology; information exchange in the course of project implementation and organization and carrying out joint seminars, discussions, workshops and conferences; commentaries to technical reports and recommendations on further research; cross-checks of results obtained in the course of project implementation and assessment of proposed methods, constructions, cartographic materials; participation in testing and evaluation of project activities performed by ISTC staff; supporting ISTC staff in participation in international scientific forums.


The basis of monitoring rests on the informational data base whose structure, composition, volume and replenishment periodicity, on the whole and for inpidual blocks, will be determined and elaborated in the course of project implementation with due regard for realistic technical-software possibilities of ISTC staff and newly-obtained information.

The complex character of monitoring system conditions a considerable volume of basic, including cartographic, information and therefore, the necessity of computer systems of considerable memory capacity with further prospects of development of the systems and data bases. In conformity with the project objectives the following automated systems will be worked out and used: geographical investigations (GIS), remote sensing (aerial-space, radiolocating) for surveying and mapping geodynamic processes and precipitation parameters as well as systems recommended by the collaborators. Data bases and banks will be replenished with information obtained with the help of current observational network and detailed specialized expedition investigations of key regions.

Analysis, systematization and generalization of material will be carried out with the use of ISTC staff experience and their achievements in new conceptual approaches, methods, mathematical and phenomenological models, modified in accordance with the latest conditions and requirements.

Compilation of various maps, ranging in scale, for each of the studied NHE will be realized with the use of GIS performed on the high-quality base maps. For identifying and mapping NHE and their catastrophic consequences, the basis of synthesized cartographic model will be worked out.

For short-term debris flow and snow flow hazard prediction (for one or two test areas) there will be used modernized methods of parametric and non-parametric discriminated analysis.

On the basis of analysis of constructional characteristics and comparison with existing anti-debris flow- and anti-snow flaw devices, there will be modified and improved trampoline type and lattice ferro-concrete devices designed by project participants (it is supposed to patent some design schemes and inpidual knots). In addition, the experience and results of installation of this constructional system in the conditions of the Caucasian Republics, Kazakhstan and Yugoslavia are considered and analyzed.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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