Geological Engineers Create Landslide Atlas of Kerala, India

Focused to the thousands of lives dropped in landslides, the new atlas assesses landslide
chance in thirteen districts in the Indian state of Kerala.

The Western Ghats trailing the western edge of India are a global hotspot for biodiversity.
The southern reach of the selection extends into Kerala, exactly where the steep slopes, comfortable
soils and weighty monsoon rains significantly maximize the chance of landslides.

Thomas Oommen, a professor of geological engineering at Michigan Technological University, is from Kerala, and he developed the Landslide
Atlas of Kerala with colleague K.S. Sajinkumar, an assistant professor of geology
at the University of Kerala. Their operate began in 2016 when Sajinkumar was a postdoctoral
fellow at Michigan Tech less than Oommen’s steerage. The atlas, which supplies in-depth,
up-to-day data about landslide risks in the state, was published for practical use
by all those who have to have it most — folks on the floor in the location. Each portion focuses
on a distinct district and is accompanied by geographic data procedure (GIS) maps.

Landslide Atlas

Debris flows — muddy mixes of drinking water, soil and organic and natural materials — are the most typical
type of landslide in Kerala, generally developing concerning June and November, when monsoon
rains soak the landscape. Landslides can be effortlessly brought on by human exercise like
farming or building, and coastal cliffs are also vulnerable.

“Kerala is an area with considerable chemical weathering and deep soils primary to a
father or mother materials that is effortlessly moved by landslides,” states Scott Burns. The Portland
Condition University professor, who wrote the atlas foreward, is also president of the
Intercontinental Affiliation for Engineering Geology and the Environment.

“Decline of assets and reduction of lifestyle are two primary difficulties that people of the location
are faced with,” Burns writes, incorporating that “regional inhabitants and determination makers
can see exactly where the greatest probabilities of landslides can come about in just about every location with these
excellent maps.”

Steep cliffs rise above a beach next to the ocean.
Steep seaside cliffs reveal thick soil layers — a merchandise of chemical weathering typical
in tropical regions — that maximize the chance of landslides all through Kerala, India.
Credit: Kiran Udayakumar


The atlas consists of a districtwide landslide susceptibility map, which notes essential influencing
chance aspects, key landslides and descriptions of exactly where they happened, together with
huge engineering projects having location.

Oommen and Sajinkumar compiled all of the maps making use of a new tool called GIS-TISSA.
TISSA stands for Resource for Infinite Slope Balance Examination and was designed within just
a GIS ecosystem. The program’s algorithms compute how distinct aspects interact
with one particular a further and evaluate the landslide vulnerability of an area.

A debris flow covers a hillside, full of rocks and trees.
Significant monsoon rains concerning June and November are the key induce for landslides
in Kerala, India. This is a particles move in Kothamangalam. Credit: Sajinkumar KS

GIS-TISSA utilizes Python to interface with one particular of the most extensively utilised geospatial instruments
in the world: ArcGIS. It will assist the geospatial group consider landslide dangers
brought on by rainfall and earthquakes by means of a GIS tool they are currently relaxed
making use of. Oommen’s graduate university student Jonathan Sanders and postdoctoral fellow Rudiger
Escobar-Wolf also contributed to GIS-TISSA development.

The Landslide Atlas of Kerala sets a new conventional for pinpointing chance in a landslide-susceptible
location and will assist the residents and policymakers of the state make conclusions to
superior mitigate lifestyle-threatening disasters.

Michigan Technological University is a community exploration university, dwelling to more than
7,000 college students from 54 nations around the world. Established in 1885, the University delivers more than
one hundred twenty undergraduate and graduate diploma systems in science and technological know-how, engineering,
forestry, organization and economics, wellbeing professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a handful of miles from Lake Outstanding.