21 September 2010

Gifts and Perils of Landslides

Posted by Dave Petley

Ken Hewitt has written a wonderful article for Scientific American entitled “Gifts and Perils of Landslides”, in which he examines the inter-relationship between the development of society and the occurrence of landslides in the Upper Indus valleys.  Ken is the guru of high mountain landslides in Pakistan, having spent many field seasons mapping rock avalanche deposits in the remote upper valleys of the Hindu Kush.  The article is available online at the following link:


His key point is that these giant landslides create both destruction and benefits to humans in this very rugged topography, the latter because they create terrain that is fertile (e.g. on lake beds formed behind landslide dams) and less steep. 

The piece will be accompanied in due course by a slideshow, which will be online here.  This is not yet available.

Meanwhile, the Pamir Times has an image of restarted works on the Attabad landslide, the aim of which is to widen and then, I understand, to deepen the spillway: