Brian Collins is a research civil engineer with the Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science center. Brian works primarily with the Landslide Hazards Program addressing a wide range of landslide issues including storm-induced shallow landslides and debris flows, deep-seated landslide mobility, and rockfall initiation.
- 2008-present, Research Civil Engineer, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California
- 2006-2008, Mendenhall Post-doctoral Researcher, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California
- 2005-2006, Engineering Research Manager, Blackhawk Geological Hazard Abatement District, San Ramon, California
- 2004-2005, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Berkeley, California
- 2000-2004, Research Assistant, University of California, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Berkeley, California
- 1998-2000, Staff Engineer, Golder Associates, Lakewood, Colorado
- 1995-1998, Teaching Assistant, University of Colorado, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Boulder, Colorado
- University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 2004, Geotechnical Engineering
- University of Colorado, Boulder, M.S., 1997, Geotechnical Engineering
- Purdue University, B.S.C.E., 1995, Civil Engineering
- National Park Service, Yosemite National Park, California
- National Weather Service, Monterey, California, Weather Forecast Office
- University of Lausanne, Risk Analysis Group, Lausanne, Switzerland
- École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Laboratory of Experimental Rock Mechanics, Lausanne, Switzerland
Science and Products
The instruments were installed in the spring of 2009 and are used to monitor and detect changes in local conditions. Soil water content and ground water pressure are monitored at two nests on the same hillslope. Data for the site include:
- Rainfall ...
A summary of recent and past landslides and debris flows caused by rainfall in Northern and Central California.
A regime shift in sediment export from a coastal watershed during a record wet winter, California: Implications for landscape response to hydroclimatic extremes
Small, steep watersheds are prolific sediment sources from which sediment flux is highly sensitive to climatic changes. Storm intensity and frequency are widely expected to increase during the 21st century, and so assessing the response of small, steep watersheds to extreme rainfall is essential to understanding landscape response to climate...East, Amy E.; Stevens, Andrew W.; Ritchie, Andrew C.; Barnard, Patrick L.; Campbell‐Swarzenski, Pamela; Collins, Brian D.; Conaway, Christopher H.
Identifying physics‐based thresholds for rainfall‐induced landsliding
Most regional landslide warning systems utilize empirically derived rainfall thresholds that are difficult to improve without recalibration to additional landslide events. To address this limitation, we explored the use of synthetic rainfall to generate thousands of possible storm patterns and coupled them with a physics‐based hydrology and slope...Thomas, Matthew A.; Mirus, Benjamin B.; Collins, Brian D.
Thermally induced fracture of macroscale surficial granite sheets
Geologically diverse landforms around the world show indications of energetic macroscale fracture. These fractures are sometimes displayed dramatically as so-called “A-tents”, whereby relatively thin rock sheets push upwards and fracture, forming tent-like voids beneath the ruptured sheets. The origin and formation of such features has been a...Collins, Brian D.; Stock, Greg M.; Eppes, Martha C.
Rapid 3-D analysis of rockfalls
Recent fatal and damaging rockfalls in Yosemite National Park indicate the need for rapid response data collection methods to inform public safety and assist with management response. Here we show the use of multiple-platform remote sensing methods to rapidly capture pertinent data needed to inform management and the public following a several...Stock, Greg M.; Guerin, A.; Avdievitch, Nikita N.; Collins, Brian D.; Jaboyedoff, Michel
Assessing rockfall susceptibility in steep and overhanging slopes using three-dimensional analysis of failure mechanisms
Rockfalls strongly influence the evolution of steep rocky landscapes and represent a significant hazard in mountainous areas. Defining the most probable future rockfall source areas is of primary importance for both geomorphological investigations and hazard assessment. Thus, a need exists to understand which areas of a steep cliff are more likely...Matasci, Battista; Stock, Greg M.; Jaboyedoff, Michael; Carrea, Dario; Collins, Brian D.; Guérin, Antoine; Matasci, G.; Ravanel, L.
Thermal influences on spontaneous rock dome exfoliation
Rock domes, with their onion-skin layers of exfoliation sheets, are among the most captivating landforms on Earth. Long recognized as integral in shaping domes, the exact mechanism(s) by which exfoliation occurs remains enigmatic, mainly due to the lack of direct observations of natural events. In August 2014, during the hottest days of summer, a...Collins, Brian D.; Stock, Greg M.; Eppes, Martha C.; Lewis, Scott W.; Corbett, Skye C.; Smith, Joel B.
Lidar-Based Rock-Fall Hazard Characterization of Cliffs
Rock falls from cliffs and other steep slopes present numerous challenges for detailed geological characterization. In steep terrain, rock-fall source areas are both dangerous and difficult to access, severely limiting the ability to make detailed structural and volumetric measurements necessary for hazard assessment. Airborne and terrestrial...Collins, Brian D.; Greg M.Stock
Rockfall triggering by cyclic thermal stressing of exfoliation fractures
Exfoliation of rock deteriorates cliffs through the formation and subsequent opening of fractures, which in turn can lead to potentially hazardous rockfalls. Although a number of mechanisms are known to trigger rockfalls, many rockfalls occur during periods when likely triggers such as precipitation, seismic activity and freezing conditions are...Collins, Brian D.; Stock, Greg M.
Relations between rainfall–runoff-induced erosion and aeolian deposition at archaeological sites in a semi-arid dam-controlled river corridor
Process dynamics in fluvial-based dryland environments are highly complex with fluvial, aeolian, and alluvial processes all contributing to landscape change. When anthropogenic activities such as dam-building affect fluvial processes, the complexity in local response can be further increased by flood- and sediment-limiting flows. Understanding...Collins, Brian D.; Bedford, David; Corbett, Skye C.; Fairley, Helen C.; Cronkite-Ratcliff, Collin
Rock fall dynamics and deposition: an integrated analysis of the 2009 Ahwiyah Point rock fall, Yosemite National Park, USA.
We analyzed a combination of airborne and terrestrial LiDAR, high-resolution photography, seismic, and acoustic data in order to gain insights into the initiation, dynamics, and talus deposition of a complex rock fall. A large (46 700 m3) rock fall originated from near Ahwiyah Point in eastern Yosemite Valley and fell a total of 730 ...Valerie L. Zimmer; Collins, Brian D.; Greg M. Stock; Nicholas Sitar
Monitoring subsurface hydrologic response for precipitation-induced shallow landsliding in the San Francisco Bay area, California, USA
Intense winter storms in the San Francisco Bay area (SFBA) of California, USA often trigger shallow landslides. Some of these landslides mobilize into potentially hazardous debris flows. A growing body of research indicates that rainfall intensity-duration thresholds are insufficient for accurate prediction of landslide occurrence. In response, we...Collins, Brian D.; Stock, Jonathan; Weber, Lisa C.; Whitman, K.; Knepprath, N.
Spatial distribution of landslides triggered from the 2007 Niigata Chuetsu–Oki Japan Earthquake
Understanding the spatial distribution of earthquake-induced landslides from specific earthquakes provides an opportunity to recognize what to expect from future events. The July 16, 2007 Mw 6.6 (MJMA 6.8) Niigata Chuetsu–Oki Japan earthquake triggered hundreds of landslides in the area surrounding the coastal city of Kashiwazaki and...Collins, Brian D.; Kayen, Robert E.; Tanaka, Yasuo
"In Yosemite Valley, rockfalls can happen every four to five days, where boulders that can be larger than your average car or apartment building thunder down steep mountainsides." - Seeker