Geological Engineers Create Landslide Atlas of Kerala, India

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

The Western Ghats trailing the western edge of India are a world hotspot for biodiversity.
The southern reach of the selection extends into Kerala, where by the steep slopes, soft
soils and significant monsoon rains drastically improve the risk of landslides.

Thomas Oommen, a professor of geological engineering at Michigan Technological University, is from Kerala, and he created the Landslide
Atlas of Kerala with colleague K.S. Sajinkumar, an assistant professor of geology
at the University of Kerala. Their function started in 2016 when Sajinkumar was a postdoctoral
fellow at Michigan Tech below Oommen’s steerage. The atlas, which presents in depth,
up-to-date information about landslide dangers in the point out, was created for realistic use
by all those who require it most — folks on the floor in the area. Each individual section focuses
on a certain district and is accompanied by geographic information and facts technique (GIS) maps.

Table of Contents

Landslide Atlas

Particles flows — muddy mixes of h2o, soil and organic and natural material — are the most prevalent
variety of landslide in Kerala, usually happening between June and November, when monsoon
rains soak the landscape. Landslides can be simply activated by human action like
farming or construction, and coastal cliffs are also vulnerable.

“Kerala is an space with in depth chemical weathering and deep soils foremost to a
father or mother material that is simply moved by landslides,” claims Scott Burns. The Portland
Point out University professor, who wrote the atlas foreword, is also president of the
Intercontinental Association for Engineering Geology and the Surroundings.

“Loss of residence and loss of lifetime are two primary challenges that persons of the area
are faced with,” Burns writes, incorporating that “area inhabitants and selection makers
can see where by the most significant probabilities of landslides can happen in every single area with these
outstanding maps.”

Steep cliffs rise above a beach next to the ocean.
Steep seaside cliffs reveal thick soil layers — a product or service of chemical weathering prevalent
in tropical areas — that improve the risk of landslides all through Kerala, India.
Credit: Kiran Udayakumar


The atlas incorporates a districtwide landslide susceptibility map, which notes important influencing
risk components, major landslides and descriptions of where by they happened, alongside with
substantial engineering initiatives using spot.

Oommen and Sajinkumar compiled all of the maps making use of a new software named GIS-TISSA.
TISSA stands for Instrument for Infinite Slope Stability Examination and was formulated in
a GIS environment. The program’s algorithms calculate how different components interact
with one particular another and assess the landslide vulnerability of an space.

A debris flow covers a hillside, full of rocks and trees.
Major monsoon rains between June and November are the principal result in for landslides
in Kerala, India. This is a particles circulation in Kothamangalam. Credit: Sajinkumar KS

GIS-TISSA uses Python to interface with one particular of the most widely employed geospatial resources
in the environment: ArcGIS. It will aid the geospatial neighborhood evaluate landslide dangers
brought on by rainfall and earthquakes via a GIS software they are already cozy
making use of. Oommen’s graduate college 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 pinpointing risk in a landslide-vulnerable
area and will aid the residents and policymakers of the point out make decisions to
greater mitigate lifetime-threatening disasters.

Michigan Technological University is a community investigate university, residence to extra than
seven,000 learners from 54 international locations. Launched in 1885, the University features extra than
120 undergraduate and graduate degree systems in science and know-how, engineering,
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social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a handful of miles from Lake Outstanding.