Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface Process, Chinese Academy of Sciences is supported by several field survey stations like Dongchuan Debris Flow Observation and Research Station, Jinlong Landslide Monitoring Station, Jiuzhaigou Debris Flow Observation Station and Yuanmou Soil and Water Conservation Test Station. The laboratory concentrates on studies of the fundamental theories and mitigation techniques of mountain hazards, especially of debris flow and landslide, following through the mission of Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS (Southwest Geography Institute) founded in 1966. It was listed as one of the key laboratories of CAS in 2005 to meet the needs of national major engineering construction and hazard mitigation.
The laboratory is engaged in applied fundamental research, which meets the needs of key constructions and environmental safety in the mountainous region of China.The main research areas include the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and Tibetan Plateau. The laboratory focuses on the formation and prevention of debris flow, landslide and soil erosion, especially the stability and transfer process of rock and soil. It is engaged in revealing the process of rock and soil stability and transfer and formation mechanism of mountain hazards, as well as the response mechanism between the two by comprehensive utilization of the regional rule analysis and deep process study, combining indoor dynamic experiment and field investigation, theoretical analysis, observation and experiment, and numerical analysis. Exploring the hazard control principle，methods and the scientific configuration between geotechnical engineering and ecological engineering, to provide theoretical foundation, key parameter and technical support for the control of mountain hazards, national major construction projects, and environmental safety.
The key laboratory consists of indoor laboratories and field observation stations. It is well equipped with various types of observation, laboratory facilities and sophisticated analytical instruments for the observation, experiment and study of mountain hazards and earth surface process, mainly debris flow, landslide and soil erosion. The main research fields include the formation mechanism, dynamics, monitoring techniques, forecasting theories and methods, risk analysis and risk management of mountain hazards; the principles, methods and technology system of hazard mitigation; structural optimization of mitigation engineering and reliability analysis.
There are 43 permanent staff, including 15 professors, 11 associate professors and 9 experimental and observational workers. Among them are one chief scientist of State Key Fundamental Research Program of China (973), one winner of National Outstanding Youth Science Foundation, four "Western Light" Scholars, three academic and technology leaders in Sichuan Province, two candidates for academic and technology leaders in Sichuan Province. The laboratory offers Post-doctoral position of physical geography; Doctor’s degree of physical geography and geotechnical engineering; Master’s degree of physical geography, cartography and geographic information systems, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, hazard prevention and mitigation, and soil science. There are 14 Doctoral supervisors, 10 Master's supervisors and 71 master’s and doctoral students studying at the laboratory.
A series of innovative and practical achievements have been made in the field of mountain hazards and earth surface process since the founding of key laboratory, mainly the regional distribution law of mountain hazards, mountain hazards databases and information systems platform, forecasting theories and techniques of debris flow and landslide, prevention theory and technology system of debris flow and landslide along the mountain highways in west China, prevention techniques and prepared plan for emergency of debris flow and landslide in hydropower stations, integrated techniques system for debris flow mitigation in the cities and towns in mountain area, prevention theory and technique system of debris flow in scenic regions and national parks and so on. The key laboratory has made outstanding contributions to debris flow mitigation along trunk railways and highways in mountain areas of China, integrated forecast and prevention of geological hazards along oil and gas pipelines in mountain areas, and Wenchuan earthquake relief and reconstruction. As for academic research and personnel training, 21 monographs and 436 papers were published from 2006 to 2007 with 25 indexed by SCI, 65 indexed by EI and 42 indexed by ISTP. The achievements of “Prevention Theory and Techniques of Debris Flow along Mountain Highways in West China” were awarded the first prize for Scientific and Technological Progress in Sichuan Provence in 2006.
Currently, the laboratory successfully combines the advantages of related fields and engages a number of high-level foreign scientists to aim at cooperatively solving the frontiers in scientific issues and critical technique issues of mountain hazards and solving the key scientific and technological problems of mountain hazards mitigation, regional development and engineering construction safety with the lead of Prof. Peng Cui, the Director of Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface Process, and the support for Chinese Academy of Sciences. The laboratory aims to develop the discipline of mountain hazards, enhance its innovative ability in the research field of mountain hazards, improve its research level and academic position in the international arena, and then become international research base and platform for mountain hazards research.