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Alexander Handwerger

Photo of Alexander Handwerger


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 300-323

Pasadena, CA 91109





Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Earth Surface and Interior


My research is directed towards understanding the environmental controls on landslide motion. To better constrain the mechanisms that control landslide motion, I use satellite and airborne synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) and pixel offset tracking with SAR and optical imagery to quantify the kinematics of multiple landslides.


  • PhD, Geological Sciences, University of Oregon (2015)
  • BA, Earth Sciences, Boston University (2008)

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Researcher, Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California Los Angeles and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2020 - present)
  • Visiting Assistant Researcher, Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California Los Angeles and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2019)
  • NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2016-2019)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Oregon (2015)
  • Graduate Teaching Fellow, University of Oregon (2009–2015)

Research Interests

Landslides, Geodesy (InSAR), Process Geomorphology, Landscape Evolution, Groundwater hydrology, Gas hydrates and Submarine Landslides.

Selected Awards

  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship (2016)
  • Johnston Scholarship Travel Grant, University of Oregon Department of Geological Sciences, (2011, 2013, 2014 )

Selected Publications

  1. Lacroix, P., Handwerger, A. L., and Bièvre, G. (2020). Life and death of slow-moving landslides. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 1-16.
  2. Bekaert, D., Handwerger, A. L., Agram, P., and Kirschbaum, D. B. (2020). InSAR-based detection method for mapping and monitoring slow- moving landslides in remote regions with steep and mountainous terrain: An application to Nepal. Remote Sensing of Environment, 249, 111983.
  3. Handwerger, A. L., Fielding, E. J., Huang, M. H., Bennett, G. L., Liang, C., & Schulz, W. H. (2019). Widespread initiation, reactivation, and acceleration of landslides in the northern California Coast Ranges due to extreme rainfall. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 124(7), 1782-1797.
  4. Handwerger, A. L., Huang, M. H., Fielding, E. J., Booth, A. M., & Bürgmann, R. (2019). A shift from drought to extreme rainfall drives a stable landslide to catastrophic failure. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1569.
  5. Finnegan, N. J., Broudy, K. N., Nereson, A. L., Roering, J. J., Handwerger, A. L., & Bennett, G. (2019). River channel width controls blocking by slow-moving landslides in California's Franciscan mélange. Earth Surface Dynamics, 7(3), 879-894.
  6. Hu, X., Bürgmann, R., Lu, Z., Handwerger, A. L., Wang, T., & Miao, R. (2019). Mobility, thickness, and hydraulic diffusivity of the slow‐moving Monroe landslide in California revealed by L‐band satellite radar interferometry.Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124(7), 7504-7518.
  7. Handwerger, A. L., Rempel, A. W., Skarbek, R. M., Roering, J. J., & Hilley, G. E. (2016). Rate-weakening friction characterizes both slow sliding and catastrophic failure of landslides. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(37), 10281-10286.
  8. Bennett, G. L., Roering, J. J., Mackey, B. H., Handwerger, A. L., Schmidt, D. A., & Guillod, B. P. (2016). Historic drought puts the brakes on earthflows in Northern California, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 5725–5731
  9. Handwerger, A. L., Roering, J. J., Schmidt, D. A., and Rempel, A. W. (2015). Kinematics of Earth- flows in the Northern California Coast Ranges using Satellite Interferometry. Geomorphology. 246, 321-333.
  10. Roering, J. J., Mackey, B. H., Handwerger, A. L., Booth, A. M., Schmidt, D. A., Bennett, G. L., and Cerovski-Darriau, C. (2015). Beyond the angle of repose: A review and synthesis of landslide processes in response to rapid uplift, Eel River, Northern California. Geomorphology, 236, 109-131.
  11. Handwerger, A. L., Roering, J. J., and Schmidt, D. A. (2013). Controls on the seasonal deformation of slow-moving landslides. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 377, 239-247.
  12. Roering, J. J., Mackey, B. H., Marshall, J. A., Sweeney, K. E., Deligne, N. I., Booth, A. M., Handwerger, A. L., and Cerovski-Darriau, C. (2013). ’You are HERE’: Connecting the dots with airborne lidar for geomorphic fieldwork. Geomorphology, 200, 172-183.