Landslide

A landslide, also known as a landslip, is a rapid downward movement of a mass of rock, earth, or debris on a slope. It’s a type of mass wasting, which refers to any downslope movement of soil and rock under the influence of gravity.

Why in NEWS:

An IIT-Delhi team creates India’s first high-resolution landslip risk map.

  • Due to its nationwide scope and inclusion of all regions of the nation, the “Indian Landslip Susceptibility Map” is the first of its kind.
  • The map and the researchers’ analysis will be published in the February 2024 issue of the journal Catena.

In India, landslides are a particular and dangerous issue. They are less common and more difficult to track and analyse with satellites than floods. Landslides only affect 1% to 2% of the nation and occur in extremely localised areas. Consequently, the amount of high-quality data available for use with standard machine-learning models is significantly reduced.

About landslides:

Types: Landslides come in various types, categorized by the type of material moving and the movement’s speed and nature. Some common types include

  • Rockfalls
  • Mudflows
  • debris flows.

Causes: Multiple factors can trigger a landslide, including:

  • Increased water content: Heavy rainfall, snowmelt, or rising water levels can add weight and reduce the stability of the slope.
  • Erosion: Over time, erosion can weaken the slope and make it more susceptible to movement.
  • Earthquakes: Seismic activity can shake the ground and destabilize slopes.
  • Human activities: Activities like construction, mining and deforestation can alter the slope’s stability and increase the risk of landslides.

Consequences: Landslides can be devastating, causing damage to infrastructure, disruption of transportation networks, and loss of life. They can also have long-term effects on the environment.

Landslide-Prone Areas in India:

India is unfortunately quite prone to landslides, with various regions facing different levels of risk.

High Vulnerability:

Himalayan Region: These regions experience frequent landslides due to steep slopes, heavy rainfall, and seismic activity. This includes states like

  • Uttarakhand
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Sikkim
  • Arunachal Pradesh.

Northeastern Region: These regions are susceptible due to similar factors as the Himalayas, along with weaker soil structures and deforestation.

  • Assam
  • Nagaland
  • Mizoram
  • Manipur
  • Tripura
  • Meghalaya

Moderate Vulnerability:

Western Ghats: These regions face landslides, particularly during the monsoon season, due to steep slopes and intense rainfall. States like

  • Kerala
  • Maharashtra
  • Karnataka
  • Tamil Nadu

Eastern Ghats: 

  • The Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh and parts of Odisha are at risk due to steep slopes and soil erosion.

Vindhyan Hills: 

  • Parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh experience occasional landslides, especially during heavy rainfall.

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