The destruction in Nepal has stunned people around the world. As the fog of uncertainty and chaos clears, the impact of the earthquake and the after effects that may follow looms larger than life. The biggest amongst them is the threat of great landslides and mudslides expected in the coming Monsoon.
Through analysis of satellite imagery, the geomorphologist Marin Clark, together with his team from University of Michigan helped identify the areas most at risk for mudslides and landslides. These are the areas over fault rupture and lie parallel to Nepal-Tibet border, consisting of multiple villages and trekking spots frequented by foreigners.
The earthquake on Saturday shook the region literally and in doing so caused any loose soil and land to give way. Although this should lead to the chances of landslides and mudslides being reduced, it’s not so as Marin Clark elaborates: “there will still be slopes that have not yet failed but were weakened.” Unfortunately, the aftershocks that are expected to follow the earthquake together with anticipated Monsoon rainfall might be enough to dislocate land patches.
Past earthquakes have shown a very strong connection with and landslides. One of the recent earthquakes that hit Sichuan, China in 2008, led to 200,000 mudslides that greatly added to the destruction of the original disaster.