Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory LHE

Prof. Christophe ANCEY

To contact me



Station 18

CH - 1015 Lausanne


Office: GC A1 401

Tel (+41) 21 693 32 87

Fax (+41) 21 693 67 67

E-mail: christophe.ancey@epfl.ch


I have both a PhD and an engineering degree granted by the École Centrale de Paris and Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble (INP Grenoble, Grenoble National Polytechnic Institute). Trained as a hydraulics engineer, I did my doctoral work under the supervision of Pierre Evesque and co-supervision from Philippe Coussot from Dec. 1994 to July 1997 on rheology of granular flows in simple shearing. I was recruited in March 1998 as a researcher (rheology) at the Cemagref (now Irstea), which has since become the laboratoire "Storm Erosion, Snow and Avalanche Laboratory". Parallel to this research activity, with Claude Charlier I set up a consulting firm for engineering contracting called Toraval (avalanche and torrent protection), which has become the major player in this field in France. Among other things, we developed the first numerical models based on the depth-averaged equations for engineering applications.


Current position

Since 2003, I have been a fluid-mechanics professor at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne and I am the director of the Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory. My major area of interest is the dynamics of particle flows, mainly the natural suspensions involved in geophysical flows such as avalanches, mudflows, and bedload transport.

I am a member of the Society of Rheology, the American Geophysical Union. From 2000 to 2013, I was a member of the editorial committee of the journal Neige et Avalanches published by the Association nationale d'étude de la neige et des avalanches. I am a reviewer for the American Physical Society, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, the American Geophysical Union, Journal of Rheology, etc. From 2004 on, I have been an associate editor of Water Resources Research, one of the leading journals in the field, and as of Jan. 2016, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth (both published by AGU and Wiley).


Publications in scientific journals

  1. M. Kiani and C. Ancey, ``Bed topography inference from velocity field using deep learning,'' Water, 15, 4055, 2023.
  2. Z. Meng, J. Zhang, Y. Hu, and C. Ancey, ``Temporal prediction of landslide-generated waves using a theoretical-statistical combined method,'' Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 11, 1151, 2023
  3. C. Ancey and A. Recking, Scaling behavior of bedload transport---What if Bagnold was right?. Earth-Science Reviews, 246, 104571, 2023 . Electronic Supplement
  4. G. Rousseau and C. Ancey, An experimental investigation of turbulent free-surface flows over a steep permeable bed, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 941, A51, 2022.
  5. M. Kyburz, J. Gaume, B. Sovilla, and C. Ancey, Physics-based estimates of drag coefficients for the impact pressure calculation of dense snow avalanches, Engineering Structures, 254, 113478, 2022.
  6. M. Kyburz, J. Gaume, B. Sovilla, and C. Ancey, The concept of the mobilized domain: how it can explain and predict the forces exerted by a cohesive granular avalanche on an obstacle, Granular Matter, 22, 45, 2022.
  7. T. Trewhela and C. Ancey, A conveyor belt experimental setup to study the internal dynamics of granular avalanches, Experiments in Fluids 62, 207, 2021.
  8. I. Pascal, C. Ancey, P. Bohorquez, The variability of antidune morphodynamics on steep slopes, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, doi.org/10.1002/esp.5110
  9. T. Trewhela, J.M.N.T. Gray and C. Ancey, An experimental scaling law for particle-size segregation in dense granular flows, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 916, A55, 2021.
  10. T. Trewhela, J.M.N.T. Gray and C. Ancey, Large particle segregation in sheared dense granular flows, Physical Review Fluids, 6, 054302 (2021)
  11. C. Ancey and I. Pascal, Estimating mean bedload transport rates and their uncertainties, Journal of Geophysical Research, 125, e2020JF005534, 2020
  12. C. Ancey, Bedload transport: a walk between randomness and determinism. Part 1: State of the art, Journal of Hydraulic Research, 58, 1-17, 2020
  13. C. Ancey, Bedload transport: a walk between randomness and determinism. Part 2: Challenges and prospects, Journal of Hydraulic Research, 58, 18-33, 2020
  14. M. Kyburz, J. Gaume, B. Sovilla, and C. Ancey, Decoupling the role of inertia, friction and cohesion in dense granular avalanche pressure build-up on obstacles, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 125, e2019JF005192, 2020.
  15. G. Rousseau and C. Ancey, Refractive index-matched scanning of turbulent flows over rough permeable beds, Experiments in Fluids, 61, 172, 2020
  16. C. Ancey, E. Bardou, M. Funk, M. Huss, M.A. Werder and T. Trewhela, Hydraulic reconstruction of the 1818 Giétro glacial lake outburst flood, submitted to Water Resources Research. 3D simulation
  17. B. Dhont and C. Ancey, Effect of sediment feed rate on bedload pulses in a gravel-bed flume, sumitted to Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
  18. C. Ancey, E. Bardou, et T. Trewhela, Reconstruction hydraulique de la débâcle glaciaire du Giétro de 1818, submitted to Annales Valaisannes
  19. B. Dhont and C. Ancey, Are Bedload Transport Pulses in Gravel-Bed Rivers Created by Bar Migration or Sediment Waves?, Geophysical Research Letters 45 (2018)
  20. van der Vaart, K., M.P. van Schrojenstein Lantman, T. Weinhart, S. Luding, C. Ancey, and A.R. Thornton, Segregation of large particles in dense granular flows suggests a granular Saffman effect, Phys. Rev. Fluids.
  21. van der Vaart, K., A.R. Thornton, C.G. Johnson, T. Weinhart, T. Jing, P. Gajjar, J.M.N.T. Gray, and C. Ancey, Breaking size-segregation waves and mobility feedback in dense granular avalanches, Granular Matter, 2018.
  22. C. Ancey and B. M. Bates,Stokes third problem for Herschel-Bulkley fluids, Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 243 (2017) 27-37.
  23. B. Dhont, G. Rousseau and C. Ancey, Continuous monitoring of bedload transport in a laboratory flume using an impact sensor, in press in Journal of Hydraulic Engineering
  24. B. M. Bates and C. Ancey, The dambreak problem for eroding viscoplastic fluids, Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 243 (2017) 64-78.
  25. G. Zitti, C. Ancey, M. Postachini, and M. Brocchini Impulse waves generated by snow avalanches: Momentum and energy transfer to the water body, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 121 (2016) 2399-2423.
  26. J. Heyman, P. Bohórquez and C. Ancey, Entrainment, motion, and deposition of coarse particles transported by water over a sloping mobile bed, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 121 (2016) 1931-1952
  27. P. Gajjar, K. van der Vaart, A. Thornton, C. Johnson, C. Ancey, and J.M.N.T. Gray Asymmetric breaking size-segregation waves in dense granular free-surface flow, Journal of Fluid Mechanics 794 (2016) 460-505.
  28. P. Bohórquez and C. Ancey Particle diffusion in non-equilibrium bedload transport simulations, Applied Mathematical Modelling 40 (2016) 7474-7492.
  29. B. Bates, N. Andreini, C. Ancey Basal entrainment by Newtonian gravity-driven flows, Physics of Fluids 28 (2016) 053101.
  30. C. Ancey, P. Bohórquez, and J. Heyman, Stochastic interpretation of the advection diffusion equation and its relevance to bed load transport, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 120, 2529-2551, 2015.
  31. J.M.N.T. Gray and C. Ancey Particle size and density segregation in granular free-surface flows, Journal of Fluid Mechanics 779, 622-668.
  32. P. Bohórquez and C. Ancey Stochastic-deterministic modeling of bed load transport in shallow water flow over erodible slope: linear stability analysis and numerical simulation, Advances in Water Resources 83 (2015) 36–54.
  33. K. van der Vaart, P. Gajjar, G. Epely-Chauvin, N. Andreini, J.M.N.T. Gray, et C. Ancey An underlying asymmetry within particle-size segregation, Physical Review Letters, 114, 238001, 2015.
  34. Christophe Ancey et Vincent Bain, Dynamics of snow gliding and glide avalanches, Reviews of Geophysics 53, 745-784.
  35. H.B. Ma, J. Heyman, X. Fu, F. Mettra, C. Ancey and G. Parker, Bedload transport over a broad range of time scales: determination of three regimes of fluctuations, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 119, 2653-2673, 2015.
  36. J. Heyman, F. Mettra, H.B. Ma, C. Ancey, Spatial correlations in bed load transport: Evidence, importance, and modeling, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 119, 2014, 1751-1767.
  37. C. Ancey and J. Heyman, "A microstructural approach to bed load transport: mean behaviour and fluctuations of particle transport rates," Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 744, 129-168, 2014.Version pdf.
  38. B. M. Bates, C. Ancey, and J. Busson, "Visualization of the internal flow properties and the material exchange interface in an entraining viscous Newtonian gravity current," Environmental Fluid Mechanics 14, 501-518, 2014 Version pdf.
  39. J. Heyman, F. Mettra, H.B. Ma, and C. Ancey, "Statistics of bedload transport over steep slopes: Separation of time scales and collective motion," Geophysical Research Letters , 40, 128-133, 2013.Version pdf.
  40. C. Ancey, N. Andreini, and G. Epely-Chauvin "The dam-break problem for concentrated suspensions of neutrally buoyant particles," Journal of Fluid Mechanics , 724, 95-122, 2013.Version pdf.
  41. N. Andreini, C. Ancey, and G. Epely-Chauvin, "Ancey, C., N. Andreini, and Epely-Chauvin, Granular suspensions. II. Plastic behavior," Physics of Fluids , 25, 033301, 2013.Version pdf.
  42. C. Ancey, N. Andreini, and G. Epely-Chauvin "Granular suspension avalanches down inclined flume. I. Macro-viscous behavior," Physics of Fluids , 25, 033302, 2013.Version pdf.
  43. C. Ancey, N. Andreini, and G. Epely-Chauvin, "Viscoplastic dambreak waves: review of simple computational approaches and comparison with experiments," Advances in Water Resources 48 (2012) 79-91.Version pdf.
  44. N. Andreini, G. Epely-Chauvin, and C. Ancey, "Internal dynamics of Newtonian and viscoplastic fluid avalanches down a sloping bed" Physics of Fluids 24 (2012) 053101.Version pdf.
  45. C. Ancey, "Are extreme avalanches `dragon-kings' (or genuine outliers)?," European Physical Journal Special Topics 205 (2012) 117-129.Version pdf.
  46. J.M.N.T. Gray and C. Ancey, "Multi-component particle size segregation in shallow granular avalanches," Journal of Fluid Mechanics 678 (2011) 535-588.Version pdf.
  47. S. Wiederseiner, N. Andreini, G. Epely-Chauvin, M. Monnereau, G. Moser, J.M.N.T. Gray, & C. Ancey, "Experimental investigation into segregating granular flows down chutes", Physics of Fluids 23 (2011) 013301.Version pdf.
  48. S. Wiederseiner, N. Andreini, G. Epely-Chauvin & C. Ancey: "Refractive index matching in concentrated particle suspensions: A review", Experiments in Fluids 50 (2011) 1183.Version pdf.
  49. V. Hergault, P. Frey, F. Métivier, C. Barat, C. Ducottet, T. Böhm, & C. Ancey, "Particle tracking velocimetry for the study of bedload transport of two-size mixtures of spherical particles in a supercritical flow," Experiments in Fluids 49 (2010) 1095-1107.Version pdf.
  50. C. Ancey, "Stochastic modelling in sediment dynamics: the Exner equation for planar-bed incipient-bedload-transport conditions," Journal of Geophysical Research 115 (2010) F00A11.Version pdf.
  51. J.M.N.T. Gray and C. Ancey, "Particle size-segregation, recirculation, and deposition at coarse particle rich flow fronts," Journal of Fluid Mechanics 629 (2009) 387-423.Version pdf.
  52. C. Ancey, S. Cochard, & M. Andreini, "Dam-break problem for viscous fluids in the high-capillary-number limit," Journal of Fluid Mechanics 624 (2009) 1-22.Version pdf.
  53. S. Cochard & C. Ancey, "Experimental investigation of the spreading of viscoplastic fluids on inclined planes," Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 158 (2009) 73-84.Version pdf.
  54. C. Ancey & S. Cochard, "The dam-break problem for Herschel-Bulkley viscoplastic fluids down steep flumes," Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 158 (2009) 18-35.Version pdf.
  55. J. Fang, A. Parriaux, M. Rentschler, and C. Ancey, "Enhancing SPH for incompressible viscous flows using a corrected particle approximation within an energy-based framework," Applied Numerical Mathematics 59 (2009) 251-271. Version pdf..
  56. C. Ancey, R. M. Iverson, M. Rentschler, and R. P. Denlinger, "An exact solution for ideal dam-break floods on steep slopes," Water Resources Research 44 (2008) W01430. Version pdf.
  57. C. Ancey, A. Davison, T. Böhm, M. Jodeau, and P. Frey, "Entrainment and motion of coarse particles in a shallow water stream down a steep slope," Journal of Fluid Mechanics 595 (2008) 83-114.Version pdf.
  58. S. Cochard and C. Ancey, "Tracking the free surface of time-dependent flows: Image processing for the dam-break problem," Experiments in Fluids 44 (2008) 59-71.Version pdf.
  59. C. Ancey, "Plasticity and geophysical flows: A review," Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 142 (2007) 4-35.Version pdf.
  60. B. Turnbull, J. McElwaine, and C. Ancey: "The Kulikovskiy-Sveshnikova-Beghin Model of Powder Snow Avalanches: Development and Application," Journal of Geophysical Research 112 (2007) F01004.Version pdf.
  61. C. Ancey, S. Cochard, M. Rentschler, and S. Wiederseiner, "Existence and features of similarity solutions for non-Boussinesq gravity currents," Physica D 226 (2007) 32-54.Version pdf.
  62. C. Ancey, T. Böhm, M. Jodeau, and P. Frey, "Statistical description of sediment transport experiments," Physical Review E 74 (2006) 011302.Version pdf.
  63. C. Ancey, S. Cochard, M. Rentschler, and S. Wiederseiner, "Front dynamics of supercritical non-Boussinesq gravity currents," Water Resources Research 42 (2006) W08424.Version pdf.
  64. T. Böhm, C. Duccotet, C. Ancey, P. Frey and J.-L. Reboud, "Two-dimensional motion of a set of particles in a free surface flow with image processing," Experiments in Fluids 41 (2006) 1-11.Version pdf.
  65. A. Remaître, J.-P. Malet, O. Maquaire, C. Ancey and J. Locat, "Flow behaviour and runout modelling of a complex debris flow in a clay-shale basin," Earth Surface Processes and Landforms , 30 (2005) 479-488.Version pdf.
  66. C. Ancey: "Solving the Couette inverse problem by using a wavelet-vaguelette decomposition," Journal of Rheology 49 (2005) 441-460.Version pdf.
  67. C. Ancey: "Monte Carlo calibration of avalanches as a Coulomb fluid," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 363 (2005) 1529-1550.Version pdf.
  68. M. Meunier and C. Ancey: "Looking towards the use of a conceptual approach to predetermining high-return-period avalanche run-out distances," Journal of Glaciology 50 (2004) 268-278.Version pdf.
  69. T. Böhm, C. Ancey, P. Frey, and J.-L. Reboud: "Influence of the bed arrangement on the particle transport in turbulent streams," Physical Review E 69 (2004) 061307.Version pdf.
  70. C. Ancey and M. Meunier: "Computing extreme avalanches," Cold Regions Sciences and Technology 39 (2004) 161-180.Version pdf.
  71. M. Meunier and C. Ancey: "Fitting avalanche-dynamics models avalanche-dynamics models with documented events from the Col du Lautaret site (France) using the conceptual approach," Cold Regions Sciences and Technology (2004) 39 (2004) 55-66.Version pdf.
  72. C. Ancey and M. Meunier: "Estimation of bulk rheological properties of flowing avalanches from field data," Journal of Geophysical Researc h 109 F01004 (2004).Version pdf.
  73. C. Ancey: "Powder-snow avalanches: approximation as non-Boussinesq clouds with a Richardson-number-dependent entrainment function," Journal of Geophysical Research 109 F01004 (2004).Version pdf.
  74. C. Ancey, M. Meunier, and D. Richard: "The inverse problem in avalanche-dynamics models," Water Resources Research 39 (2003) WR001749.Version pdf.
  75. C. Ancey, F. Bigillon, P. Frey, and J. Lanier: "Rolling motion of a single bead in a rapid shallow water stream down a steep channel," Physical Review E 67 (2003) 011303.Version pdf.
  76. C. Ancey, F. Bigillon, P. Frey, and J. Lanier: "Saltating motion of a bead in a rapid water stream," Physical Review E 66 (2002) 036306.Version pdf.
  77. M. Rastello, C. Ancey, F. Ousset, R. Magnard, E.J. Hopfinger: "An experimental study of particle-driven gravity currents on steep slopes with entrainment of particles," Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 2 (2002) 181-185.Version pdf.
  78. C. Ancey: "Dry granular flow down an inclined channel: Experimental investigations on the frictional-collisional regime," Physical Review E 65 (2001) 11304.Version pdf.
  79. C. Ancey: "Role of lubricated contacts in concentrated polydisperse suspensions," Journal of Rheology 45 (2001) 1421-1439.Version pdf.
  80. C. Ancey and H. Jorrot: "Yield stress for particle suspensions within a clay dispersion," Journal of Rheology 45 (2001) 297-319.Version pdf.
  81. C. Ancey and P. Evesque: "The frictional-collisional regime for granular suspension flows down an inclined channel," Physical Review E 62 (2000) 8349-8360.Version pdf.
  82. C. Ancey, P. Coussot and P. Evesque: "A theoretical framework for granular suspensions in a simple shear flow," Journal of Rheology 43 (1999) 1673-1699.Version pdf.
  83. C. Ancey and P. Coussot: "Transition frictionnelle/ visqueuse pour une suspension granulaire," Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences 327 II B (1999) 515-522. The paper is in French, but includes a long abstract in English.Version pdf.
  84. P. Coussot and C. Ancey: "Rheophysical classification of concentrated suspensions and granular pastes," Physical Review E 59 (1999) 4445-4457.Version pdf.
  85. C. Ancey, P. Evesque and P. Coussot: "Motion of a single bead on a bead row: Theoretical investigations," Journal de Physique I 6 (1996) 725-751.Version pdf.
  86. C. Ancey, P. Coussot, P. Evesque: "Examination of the possibility of a fluid-mechanics treatment for dense granular flows," Mechanics of Cohesive-Frictional Materials 1 (1996) 385-403.Version pdf.
  87. P. Coussot, S. Proust, C. Ancey: "Rheological and structural interpretation of mud, slurry and debris flow deposits," Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 66 (1996) 55-70.Version pdf.

Books and book chapters

  1. Ancey, C., Snow Avalanches, in Natural Hazard Science, edited by S.L. Cutter, DOI:10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.013.17, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016.
  2. C. Ancey, Dynamique des Avalanches (Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes, Lausanne, 2006). Link to PPUR
  3. M. Meunier, C. Ancey, and D. Richard, L'approche conceptuelle pour l'étude des avalanches, (Cemagref Editions, Antony, 2004).
  4. M. Meunier, C. Ancey, and D. Richard Conceptual Approach to the Study of Snow Avalanches, (Cemagref Editions, Antony, 2004).
  5. C. Ancey (editor), Guide Neige et Avalanches, 2nd edition (Edisud, Aix-en-Provence, 1998) 320 p. [1st edition, 1996]. The book is now available online from my private website. Link to the book
  6. P. Coussot and C. Ancey, Rhéophysique des pâtes et des suspensions, (EDP Sciences, Les Ulis, 1999). 266 p.
  7. C. Ancey (editor), Actes du séminaire de rhéologie. Paris 19--20 mai 1998, (Cemagref éditions, Antony, 1998) 247 p.

Former PhD students

LHE News

Field of expertise of LHE

  • Geophysical fluid mechanics
  • Snow avalanches
  • Torrential hydraulics
  • Risk management (in mountain areas)
  • Rheology of suspensions
  • Particulate flows


Laboratoire d'Hydraulique Environnementale (LHE)

Station 18
CH-1015 Lausanne
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Tél: +41 (0) 21 693 23 75
Fax: +41 (0) 21 693 67 67