28 October 2015

Landslides from the Afghanistan earthquake on Monday

Posted by dr-dave

Afghanistan earthquake

The M=7.5 Afghanistan earthquake on Monday was deep (the USGS estimates 213 km), meaning that it affected a large area of mountainous terrain.  This is a zone that is highly landslide prone in even static conditions, so landslides were an inevitable consequence.  In the aftermath a number of videos and images of landslides have appeared in various places.

Videos of landslides from the Afghanistan earthquake

This video shows a comparatively minor but visually dramatic terrace collapse in the Gilgit region of Pakistan:

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This video appears to be a somewhat larger landslide, although I suspect that the nature of the material makes it appear worse than reality.  It is certainly a very dramatic video:

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This landslide is reported to have occurred in the Hooper Valley of Pakistan, again in weak materials:

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Images of landslides from the Afghanistan earthquake

Meanwhile, there are also various images of landslides triggered by the earthquake.  The ever-wonderful Pamir Times for example has this image of rockfall debris in the Gilgit Baltistan area:

Afghanistan earthquake

Rockfall debris in Gilgit Baltistan from the Afghanistan earthquake via the Pamir Times

 

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Whilst landslide losses are a little unclear at the moment, the Pamir Times also reports four people killed in a rockfall on the Karakoram Highway.  The level of damage to the road was clearly high, as depicted in this amazing gallery of images:

Afghanistan earthquake

Landslides on the Karakoram Highway triggered by the Afghanistan earthquake, via the Pamir Times

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The Chief of the National Disaster Management Agency in Pakistan is warning of the potential for further landslides in this area.  This is good advice.  The Daily Times reports that four members of  rescue team were killed, and another 12 injured, in a landslide in the Kalam region of Pakistan yesterday.

It is worth noting that both NW Afghanistan and N Pakistan are hotspots for very large landslides in the uninhabited high mountain regions, many of which are triggered by earthquakes.  It will be interesting to see whether any such events have occurred but have as yet not been observed.