Natural Disasters-Landslides

Natural Disasters


  • A landslide can be defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope.
  • Landslides are a type of mass wasting, which denotes a downward movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity.
  • Landslides results in a loss of about of Rs. 100 crore to Rs. 150 crore per annum in whole of India.

Causes of Landslides


  • This refers to characteristics of the material.
  • Such as whether the earth or rock is weak or fractured, or different strengths and stiffness of different layers of the soil.

Heavy Rainfall and Earthquakes

  • The vulnerability of above 40% of the Kumaon Himalayan region to landslides is caused by earthquakes.
  • Additionally, heavy rainfall often may result in landslides.


  • Morphology refers to the physical structure of the land.
  • From experience we know that slopes that lose their vegetation to fire or drought are more vulnerable to landslides.
  • This is because vegetation holds soil in place, and without the root systems of trees, bushes, and other plants, the land is more likely to slide away.


  • Human activities such as mining or quarrying will result in the loss of vegetation cover and soil gravel.
  • This also lowers the groundwater retention capacity which increases the risk of flooding.

Shifting Cultivation

  • Shifting cultivation is especially common in himalayan regions and Northeast areas.
  • Every year, residents burn the forests for cultivation purposes which deteriorates the quality of topsoil, causing erosion during heavy rainfall.
  • This results in increased vulnerability to landslides in these regions.


  • Population pressure in urban areas of India is rising at an alarming rate.
  • This results in intensive urbanisation activities such as establishing commercial housing projects and road construction which reduce the vegetation cover.
  • This results in an increasing frequency of landslides in such regions.