Geological Engineers Create Landslide Atlas of Kerala, India

Devoted to the countless numbers of life lost in landslides, the new atlas assesses landslide
possibility in thirteen districts in the Indian state of Kerala.

The Western Ghats trailing the western edge of India are a world hotspot for biodiversity.
The southern achieve of the range extends into Kerala, the place the steep slopes, delicate
soils and major monsoon rains drastically maximize the possibility of landslides.

Thomas Oommen, a professor of geological engineering at Michigan Technological College, is from Kerala, and he generated the Landslide
Atlas of Kerala with colleague K.S. Sajinkumar, an assistant professor of geology
at the College of Kerala. Their operate begun in 2016 though Sajinkumar was a postdoctoral
fellow at Michigan Tech beneath Oommen’s direction. The atlas, which offers comprehensive,
up-to-date data about landslide risks in the state, was published for practical use
by those who have to have it most — folks on the ground in the region. Just about every area focuses
on a distinct district and is accompanied by geographic details program (GIS) maps.

Landslide Atlas

Particles flows — muddy mixes of water, soil and natural and organic substance — are the most typical
variety of landslide in Kerala, ordinarily transpiring among June and November, when monsoon
rains soak the landscape. Landslides can be very easily induced by human exercise like
farming or construction, and coastal cliffs are also susceptible.

“Kerala is an place with substantial chemical weathering and deep soils primary to a
mother or father substance that is very easily moved by landslides,” says Scott Burns. The Portland
Condition College professor, who wrote the atlas foreward, is also president of the
Intercontinental Affiliation for Engineering Geology and the Surroundings.

“Decline of home and loss of existence are two major challenges that folks of the region
are confronted with,” Burns writes, incorporating that “area inhabitants and determination makers
can see the place the premier chances of landslides can arise in just about every region with these
exceptional maps.”

Steep cliffs rise above a beach next to the ocean.
Steep seaside cliffs reveal thick soil levels — a product of chemical weathering typical
in tropical locations — that maximize the possibility of landslides all through Kerala, India.
Credit score: Kiran Udayakumar


The atlas contains a districtwide landslide susceptibility map, which notes critical influencing
possibility variables, big landslides and descriptions of the place they occurred, along with
massive engineering projects having put.

Oommen and Sajinkumar compiled all of the maps applying a new instrument referred to as GIS-TISSA.
TISSA stands for Software for Infinite Slope Security Investigation and was designed within just
a GIS natural environment. The program’s algorithms compute how distinct variables interact
with one a further and assess the landslide vulnerability of an place.

A debris flow covers a hillside, full of rocks and trees.
Large monsoon rains among June and November are the main bring about for landslides
in Kerala, India. This is a debris stream in Kothamangalam. Credit score: Sajinkumar KS

GIS-TISSA makes use of Python to interface with one of the most commonly utilised geospatial tools
in the earth: ArcGIS. It will support the geospatial local community consider landslide dangers
induced by rainfall and earthquakes by way of a GIS instrument they are by now comfy
applying. Oommen’s graduate university student Jonathan Sanders and postdoctoral fellow Rudiger
Escobar-Wolf also contributed to GIS-TISSA advancement.

The Landslide Atlas of Kerala sets a new standard for figuring out possibility in a landslide-prone
region and will support the inhabitants and policymakers of the state make selections to
better mitigate existence-threatening disasters.

Michigan Technological College is a general public research college, dwelling to additional than
seven,000 pupils from 54 nations. Started in 1885, the College presents additional than
a hundred and twenty undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technologies, engineering,
forestry, small business and economics, wellness professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a several miles from Lake Superior.

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