Featured Science & Tech — 15 December 2015

Have you seen those mass movements of soil and debris down the steep slopes and wondered why they occur? Let us tell you that those thunderous movements are called landslides and they do not happen without any reason. In fact, there are many factors that lead to the sliding of land, soil or rocks. While there are natural factors driving landslides, human factors also contribute to such disasters. Read on to know more about certain specific reasons of a landslide.

Earthquakes

The movement of tectonic plates during an earthquake is a major cause of landslides. Usually, it happens on steep slopes when the falling debris also pushes away the soil. The soil slips down the hills because of gravity.

Volcanic eruptions

It is worse when a landslide occurs due to the eruption of a volcano. A huge amount of debris and lava flows down the slopes while also sliding heavy rocks. Such natural disasters can be unimaginably destructive to life and property.

Heavy rains

When heavy rains occur and water seepage happens in large quantities, then the soil cannot remain bonded with the ground. At its saturation point, the soil loses its root support and starts running off to cause landslides.

Vegetation removal

Similar to rains, the soil bonding is also disturbed when humans get involved in activities like vegetation removal on a large scale. Soil erosion over a long period of time can lead to the flow of such soil, causing landslides.

Construction work

Sometimes, people interfere with the natural drainage system in hilly areas and also do construction work by modifying the slopes. In all such cases, soil and rocks cannot stay for long and fall off.

Mining work

Mining also overloads the slopes and causes vibrations due to its blasting procedures. This attacks the vulnerable debris and rocks. Due to displacement, they cause landslides in the area.

Written by Ruchika Pahwa

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