Thiruvananthapuram

Mapping landslip-prone sites in Kerala

Kerala University geologist co-authors atlas listing Kerala’s landslip history and reasons

A geologist with the University of Kerala has collaborated with a U.S.-based geological engineer to prepare the Landslide Atlas of Kerala.

The atlas, co-authored by K.S. Sajinkumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, University of Kerala, and Thomas Oommen, Associate Professor, Michigan Technological University, U.S., depicts the spatial and temporal distribution of landslips and potentially hazardous locations in the Western Ghats.

Dr. Sajinkumar said the atlas would enable implementation of apt disaster management practices in vulnerable areas.

“Its prime goal is to accomplish the first step towards managing landslip hazards in Kerala by producing an easily accessible and jargon-free atlas that marks the spatial landslip hazard potential for each district in Kerala.

The maps have been presented in a simple manner,” he said.

Major factors

The hilly regions of Kerala usually witnessed landslips during every monsoon, i.e., from June to November.

Although rainfall was the prime triggering factor for landslips in the State, the thickness of top soil, the steepness of slope, and human activities were the other significant factors that controlled the spatial distribution of landslips.

The most common type of landslips in the State was debris slide, although other kinds such as debris flow and rock fall were also prevalent, he pointed out.

The atlas, prepared after an extensive mapping process that lasted for a year, has used the latest tools of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

It has been divided into 15 chapters in the form of illustrations with brief descriptions.

They include a holistic introduction to landslips, their occurrences in Kerala, the landslip-prone districts, major locations of landslips and their description, and the influencing factors for such occurrences in the respective areas. Information regarding major engineering projects in districts and a landslip susceptibility map have also been provided.

Launch on Tuesday

Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran will formally launch the Landslide Atlas of Kerala at the Department of Geology on the Karyavattom campus of the university on September 19. The Geological Society of India is the publisher of the atlas.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 12:18:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/mapping-landslip-prone-sites-in-state/article19702434.ece

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