Landslides often pose life-threatening damages to all living beings on earth. s lose their homes, animals are killed or slide away with the sliding earth while plants are uprooted from their bases. It is a natural disaster and we must be careful to reduce such calamities by maintaining certain rules of protecting nature.
Fact 1 What are landslides
Landslides are slipping of lands that may occur suddenly and cannot be avoided. They vary in size causing movement of the ground to a large extent. It can be sliding of rocks and boulders as well as lands in the hill sides or even huge trees and debris on shore as well as off shore. It is gravitational pull that forces the rocks and debris to fall and cause a total landslide.
Fact 2 Causes of landslides
There are various natural as well as man-made factors that cause landslides. If an area has pre-conditional factors, sub-surface problems arise leading to landslides. Actually when the stability of a sloping area like mountains and hills become unstable, even the slightest change in atmosphere or natural disturbance like earthquake can cause landslide. There are certain other factors too that are responsible for causing landslides. The natural causes are:
- Soil erosion causes the slopes to slide into the rivers or oceans in the coastal areas.
- Glaciers are also responsible for landslides. When the glaciers slide down the cliff tops, the ice melts or there may be heavy rainfall which leads to landslides.
- Earthquakes are greatly responsible for landslides as they make the surface of the earth unstable.
- Volcano eruptions can also cause landslides as the slopes become weak and unstable.
- Groundwater exerts pressure on the slopes too that lead to landslides.
- Changes brought about by soil structure are another cause of landslides.
Human activities too are also responsible for causing landslides like
- Vibrations of heavy machinery in the ground.
- Deforestation is responsible for landslides to a great extent nowadays as the slopes lose their grip and become fragile.
Fact 3 Effects of landslides
When the soil in the higher slopes and cliffs become saturated with water, there are great chances of landslide. This causes the debris, trees on the slopes, rocks and mud to slide down at great speed. The effects of such landslides are extremely dangerous.
- They carry down along with them all houses, trees, cars and everything that comes on their way and sometimes overlap houses etc too.
- Sometimes landslides block the roads and block bridges and break them too causing floods at the same time.
- Normal water flow is hampered causing serious problems of water supply.
- When part of hill sides where there are localities slide down, while some of the houses slope down with the mountain rocks while the others stay hanging on top. It is a very dangerous situation that has been witnessed many times.
- When the land mass has great volume then, huge areas are affected. Their speed can be up to 20km per hour causing great devastation.
Fact 4 Types of Landslides
Certain landslides are less dangerous like the shallow landslides. These happen mostly in the less populated areas.
But when the bigger landslides happen in the more populated areas especially on the mountain slopes, like Kiho in Japan, the effects are too devastating and these are the deep seated landslides that are more dangerous as there is slope failure on a large scale.
Landslides are natural disasters and cannot be stopped at times. But we can at least take certain measures to reduce the damages like controlling rain water and channelizing them to proper reservoirs, stop the cutting down of trees and try to maintain peace and harmony in nature.