22 July 2011

A round-up of this week’s landslide stories that have caught my eye

Posted by Dave Petley

Apologies for the low rate of posting this week – it has been a busy one!  These are the key stories that have caught my eye:

1. A Congressional landslide briefing, USA

Thanks to Lee Allison (check out his terrific, pioneering Arizona Geology blog) for the heads-up on this one.  On 21st June an event was held in Washington to provide a public briefing on landslides as a stealth hazard.  The three presentations are online here – they are worth downloading for the photos and for the clarity of the information.

2. Attabad

The problems at Attabad continue to develop.  The most recent development is the formation of new cracks and fissures in the slope to the north of the landslide mass.  Whilst the news report linked above is slightly ambiguous, it appears that new instabilities ae developing on the rock slopes in this area.  It is not clear whether this might indicate that a larger landslide may be developing, or that this is a number of smaller slides, but it will require careful management and monitoring over the coming days.

3. Landslides in Nepal

It has been another bad week for landslides in Nepal, with 16 or more people killed in a number of events across the country, including a foreign trekker.

4. Landslides in Sydney, Australia

New South Wales received exceptional rainfall on Thursday and Friday, triggering floods and some small landslides and floods.

5. An earthquake in Central Asia

There has been little coverage of the 20th July M=6.1 earthquake that affected Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, but news reports suggest that some structural damage and landslides did occur.  This should serve as a warning for the potential impact of a large event in this part of the world.

6. Ltersosses from disas in China

Data has been emerging from China over the last few days regarding the magnitude of losses from natural disasters.  Last year, disasters affected 430 million people and killed over 7,800.  In the first six months of the year (the low season for landslides), official data shows that “geological disasters” killed 97 people and left 13 missing, inflicting losses of $145 million.  The astonishing statistic is that in the period 2006-2010, China suffered 214,000 geological disasters, which left 6,293 people dead or missing.  These statistics exclude the landslides triggered by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake of course.