The Super-Sauze landslide is located on the North-facing slope of the Barcelonnette Basin (Southern French Alps). The landslide has developed in a torrential basin located in the upper part of the Sauze torrent, on the left side of the Ubaye valley. Triggered in the 1960's (the exact date of onset is unknown), the landslide is an example of complex landslides developed in soft clay-shales. It is located in the headwater basin of the Sauze torrent between 2105 m (crown) and 1740 m (toe) for an average slope gradient of 25°. It has a length of ca. 900m and an average width of 135 m. The total volume is estimated at 750,000 m3 and velocities lie in the range from 0.01 to 0.40 m.day-1.

Super-Sauze landslide from the bottom in 2006.

The landslide dynamics is controlled by bedrock geometry, rock mass fabric, and hydrology.

  • More information on the landslide history: here
  • More information on the landslide kinematics: here
  • More information on the landslide hydrology: here
  • More information on landslide hazard and risk: here

Monitoring data

Since the 1990's, the landslide is investigated by the School and Observatory of Earth Sciences, Institute of Earth Physics (Strasbourg) and several monitoring techniques are used to characterize its dynamics and mechanisms in relation to climatic and hydrologic conditions.

More details here.


The Super-Sauze landslide has been the subject of many research studies and several PhD or post-doc projects:

  • Krzeminska, D.M. 2012. The influence of fissure on landslide hydrology. PhD Thesis, University of Delft.
  • Tonnellier A. 2012. Écoute sismique des glissements de terrain dans les roches argilo-marneuses : détection et identification des sources intervenant dans la progression des glissements. Thèse de Doctorat, Université de Strasbourg.
  • Travelletti, J. 2011. Imagerie multi-paramètres et multi-résolutions pour l’observation et la caractérisation des mécanismes de glissements-coulées. Thèse de Doctorat, Université de Strasbourg, 318p
  • Meric, O. 2006. Etude de mouvements de terrain par méthodes géophysiques. Thèse de Doctorat, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, 252 p. [pdf]
  • Malet, J.-P. 2003. Les glissements de type écoulement dans les marnes noires des Alpes du Sud. Morphologie, fonctionnement et modélisation hydro-mécanique. Thèse de Doctorat, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, 364 p. [pdf]
  • Schmutz, M. 2001. Apport des méthodes géophysiques à la connaissance des glissements-co ulées développés dans les marnes noires. Application à Super-Sauze (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France). Thèse de Doctorat, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, 253 p. [pdf]
  • Weber, D. 2001. Contribution de la géomorphologie à la connaissance des mouvements de terrains dans les ‘Terres noires’ alpines : le glissement-coulée de Super-Sauze (Alpes de Haute Provence, France). Thèse de Doctorat, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, 311 p.

Full access to the publications (ISI Journals, Books, Conference Proceedings, PhD and MSc thesis) referring to the Super-Sauze landslide are available here