Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and the Western Ghats. (150 words) [2021]

Landslides in the Himalayan region and the Western Ghats have distinct causes due to their unique geographical and climatic conditions. Here, we differentiate the causes of landslides in these two regions:

Himalayan Region

  • Tectonic activity: The Himalayas are formed by the ongoing collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, causing frequent earthquakes and landslides.
  • Intense rainfall: The monsoon season brings heavy rainfall to the region, saturating the soil and increasing the likelihood of landslides.
  • Deforestation: The removal of vegetation destabilizes slopes and increases the risk of landslides.
  • Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs): The sudden release of water from glacial lakes can trigger landslides in the surrounding areas.
  • Example: The 2013 Kedarnath landslide in Uttarakhand, India, was caused by intense rainfall and glacial lake outburst floods.

Western Ghats

  • Steep slopes: The Western Ghats have steep slopes, making them more susceptible to landslides.
  • Weathering: The region experiences high rainfall and humidity, leading to the weathering of rocks and soil, which weakens the slopes.
  • Land-use changes: Agricultural practices, deforestation, and urbanization have altered the landscape, increasing the risk of landslides.
  • Construction activities: Infrastructure development, such as roads and dams, can destabilize slopes and trigger landslides.
  • Example: The 2018 Kerala landslide in India was caused by heavy rainfall, deforestation, and land-use changes.

In conclusion, landslides in the Himalayan region are primarily driven by tectonic activity and intense rainfall, while those in the Western Ghats are influenced by steep slopes, weathering, and human activities. Effective landslide prevention measures should be tailored to the specific causes and conditions in each region.

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