Geological Engineers Create Landslide Atlas of Kerala, India

Table of Contents

Dedicated to the 1000’s of lives dropped in landslides, the new atlas assesses landslide
chance in thirteen districts in the Indian point out of Kerala.

The Western Ghats trailing the western edge of India are a international hotspot for biodiversity.
The southern access of the selection extends into Kerala, exactly where the steep slopes, tender
soils and large monsoon rains significantly increase the chance of landslides.

Thomas Oommen, a professor of geological engineering at Michigan Technological University, is from Kerala, and he manufactured the Landslide
Atlas of Kerala with colleague K.S. Sajinkumar, an assistant professor of geology
at the University of Kerala. Their get the job done started off in 2016 even though Sajinkumar was a postdoctoral
fellow at Michigan Tech less than Oommen’s direction. The atlas, which presents in-depth,
up-to-date data about landslide hazards in the point out, was penned for sensible use
by these who will need it most — people on the floor in the region. Every part focuses
on a particular district and is accompanied by geographic information process (GIS) maps.

Landslide Atlas

Debris flows — muddy mixes of h2o, soil and organic product — are the most widespread
kind of landslide in Kerala, generally taking place amongst June and November, when monsoon
rains soak the landscape. Landslides can be conveniently brought on by human activity like
farming or development, and coastal cliffs are also vulnerable.

“Kerala is an area with considerable chemical weathering and deep soils major to a
mother or father product that is conveniently moved by landslides,” states Scott Burns. The Portland
Point out University professor, who wrote the atlas foreword, is also president of the
Worldwide Association for Engineering Geology and the Atmosphere.

“Loss of property and decline of daily life are two main complications that people today of the region
are faced with,” Burns writes, adding that “neighborhood inhabitants and choice makers
can see exactly where the biggest likelihood of landslides can come about in every region with these
outstanding maps.”

Steep seaside cliffs reveal thick soil levels — a merchandise of chemical weathering widespread
in tropical areas — that increase the chance of landslides throughout Kerala, India.
Credit rating: Kiran Udayakumar


The atlas features a districtwide landslide susceptibility map, which notes key influencing
chance components, main landslides and descriptions of exactly where they occurred, together with
significant engineering jobs having position.

Oommen and Sajinkumar compiled all of the maps employing a new software called GIS-TISSA.
TISSA stands for Instrument for Infinite Slope Balance Evaluation and was produced in just
a GIS natural environment. The program’s algorithms determine how various components interact
with a single yet another and assess the landslide vulnerability of an area.

A debris flow covers a hillside, full of rocks and trees.
Major monsoon rains amongst June and November are the key set off for landslides
in Kerala, India. This is a particles stream in Kothamangalam. Credit rating: Sajinkumar KS

GIS-TISSA works by using Python to interface with a single of the most greatly applied geospatial equipment
in the earth: ArcGIS. It will help the geospatial community examine landslide hazards
brought on by rainfall and earthquakes by means of a GIS software they are by now comfortable
employing. Oommen’s graduate university student Jonathan Sanders and postdoctoral fellow Rudiger
Escobar-Wolf also contributed to GIS-TISSA improvement.

The Landslide Atlas of Kerala sets a new regular for analyzing chance in a landslide-prone
region and will help the people and policymakers of the point out make conclusions to
improved mitigate daily life-threatening disasters.

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