Landslides have been known to be major tragic incidents that can cause deaths. This article serves to provide some of the important facts and information about landslides.
What is a landslide?
A landslide occurs when rock, debris and other geological material flow down a hill slope in a dangerous manner. A landslide may occur in abruptly or it may occur gradually with warning signs. Sudden and rapid landslides are the most dangerous as people do not get sufficient time to take shelter or safety precautions. The landslides movements have been categorized into the following five categories:
This movement ranges from rapid to extremely rapid landslide and the descent process ends with a rapid and catastrophic free fall. These falls are caused by natural phenomena like earthquakes.
This type of landslide is caused by the fracture patterns in the rocks. The rock causing this type of landslide just tilts forward without collapsing. The topple landslide is also characterized by forwarding rotation of rocks around a pivot point.
This landslide is the most dangerous because the flow becomes slurry due to the high-water content present in the slope material.
The slide landslide is the most common cause of landslide and the material moves with a moderate rate in either rotational or a translational motion.
This landslide is characterized by lateral spreading of the slope material over a flat terrain.
Causes of landslide
Landslides mainly occur along planes of weakness that are parallel to hill slope. A landslide can be caused by both, natural phenomena as well as human activities.
Human causes include:
A landslide can also be caused due to a combination of several of these factors. Some slopes are more prone to landslides whereas others are less susceptible. A number of factors trigger landslides but the catastrophe occurs mainly depends on the underlying bedrock and soil in addition to the geometric and the configuration of the slope. Additionally, ground-water conditions also play a major role in causing landslides.
Effects of landslide
Landslides can be catastrophic because they cause irreparable damage to property along with human loss. Moreover, a landslide can impact the quality of life by destroying water supplies, sewage systems, transportation networks, railroads, forests, fisheries and various other natural resources. Landslides also affect economy negatively because a huge budget is required to repair the damages caused by landslides. Many people lose their livelihood when catastrophic landslides destroy forests and cause water pollution that kills fish stock. Besides repair structures, victims as well the authorities have to incur medical costs. Considerable amount of money is spent in conducting geo-technical studies to assess and stabilize the afflicted areas.
Some signs of incoming landslide
It is always safe to pick up on any signs that are good indicators of an impending landslide. Following are some of the indicators that must be watched out for:
It is advised to signal a red alert when locals spot any of these signs in landslide-prone areas.
6 ways to be safe in an unexpected landslide
People need to follow the instructions listing below for staying safe and secure during an unexpected landslide:
Landslides can be devastating because they occur suddenly, move rapidly and travel over a long distance. Even though they are difficult to predict, landslides are known to send out warnings even before they occur. It is wise to pick up these signals and follow safety protocols to minimize the negative effects of a landslide. Authorities always stipulate that people familiarize themselves with warning signs and follow an emergency plan in case of disaster. Housing communities residing in landslide-prone areas must ensure safety by meeting periodically and practicing safety protocols. Ultimately, everyone must remember that chance favors only the prepared mind.