EM – Earthquakes and extreme rainfall lead to a significant increase in landslide rates in Nepal

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November 18, 2021

from University of Plymouth

Earthquakes and extreme rainfall can lead to a six-fold increase in rain-triggered landslides during the monsoon season in Nepal, according to new research.

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The Himalayan nation experiences severe landslides every year as a result of the annual monsoon season, which occurs between June and August.

However, this new study, which was published in Nature Communications, examines how extreme rainfall and earthquakes occur Can cause landslides that exceed those during a normal Himalayan monsoon season.

By analyzing satellite imagery and rainfall data, the researchers were able to establish a clear pattern between the strength of the monsoon season and the amount over a period of 30 years between 1988 and 2018 found in landslides.

It showed that extreme “cloud burst” storms in 1993 and 2002 led to around four times as many landslides as one would expect in an average monsoon season.

In a similar way found that landscape damage caused by the Gorkha earthquake in April 2015 was around six times as much during the 2015 monsoon season h caused rain-triggered landslides as expected. This landscape damage also led to an increase in the expected number of landslides in the 2016 monsoon season, with conditions approaching average again by 2017.

The study also showed that the worst landscape damage from the 2015 earthquake was not directly at the epicenter occurred, but in nearby locations where high earthquake-peak ground accelerations occurred on particularly steep mountain slopes.

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of East Anglia, the University of Plymouth, the University of Exeter and the international engineering firm AECOM.

Ph.D. Candidate Josh Jones, the study’s lead author, conducted the work in Plymouth and East Anglia. He said: “Unfortunately, during the monsoon season, people in Nepal are often hit by landslides, with widespread damage to homes and infrastructure every year. This study shows how much this risk of landslides can be increased by extreme rainfall and earthquakes and how long these effects can be felt. We hope this information could be an important tool in helping local communities plan future landslide hazards, especially after major earthquakes. “

Dr. Sarah Boulton, Associate Professor of Active and Neotectonics at the University of Plymouth, added: “Once upon a time, due to our changing climate, unusual rains and floods will become more common around the world. Climate models suggest that Nepal is likely to increase thunderstorms and potentially higher annual rainfall in the future. Our study shows that there have been two in the past 30 years There have been cases in which the annual rainfall could be classified as extreme. Similar events could become more frequent in the coming years and result in even more devastating effects on the local population. “

Dr. Michael Whitworth, Deputy Director at AECOM, said: “This project shows the benefits of collaboration between industry and academia. The results of this research can help reduce the risk of disasters in vulnerable areas and lead to better planning and control of landslide hazards. “Caused by rare major events such as earthquakes.” Months of analyzing 30 years of satellite imagery to create a long-term picture of where landslides occur and the detailed effects they have on the landscape of central and eastern Nepal.

This was then compared to monsoons, extreme rain and earthquake data to get an overall picture of the most important factors contributing to an increased incidence of landslides.

The result is an unprecedented inventory of Nepal’s landslides, a record of nearly 13,000 landslides over a geographic area of ​​more than 42,000 km2 Himalayan region.

It also shows the geographical characteristics of the areas most susceptible to future landslides and how this risk could be affected by both extreme weather and large earthquakes.

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Similar title :
Earthquakes and extreme rains lead to to a significant increase in landslide rates in Nepal
Earthquakes and extreme rainfall lead to a significant increase in Landslides in Nepal

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