Key Landslide Triggers: A Case Study of Upper Alaknanda Valley, Uttarakhand Himalaya, India

  • Sushil Khanduri
  • Piyoosh Rautela
Keywords: Landslide, Landuse, Slope instability, Alaknanda Valley, Uttarakhand Himalaya


Heavy rainfall in June 2013 triggered landslides together with river erosion across the state of Uttarakhand in India that culminated in a major disaster. Detailed investigation was carried out in the upper Alaknanda V alley of Uttarakhand Himalaya that was adversely affected by landslides, with an aim to identify key factors triggering slope instability. Correlation of the spatial distribution of landslides with land use, road and streams suggests that proximity to road and drainage network have the strongest influence on landslides occurrence in the area. Ill maintained farm terraces on the slopes and alignment of the road network in proximity of the drainage channels are observed to further influence landslide occurrences. Aligning the road network at a safe distance from drainage network, with provision of rainwater disposal and slope stabilisation measures is therefore recommended. Geological surveys should at the same time precede road construction to avoid unstable and weak zones and proper care should be taken to ensure maintenance of farm terraces on the slopes.


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