What is a landslide?

A landslide is a geological phenomenon where a mass of rock, earth, or debris moves down a slope under the influence of gravity. Landslides can be slow-moving or rapid, ranging from a gradual downhill creep to a sudden and catastrophic collapse. They can occur on land, underwater, or on the seafloor. Landslides are typically triggered by a variety of factors, including heavy rainfall, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, human activities, and changes in the natural slope stability due to factors such as erosion or vegetation loss.
Types and Causes - Impact and Warning Signs - Prevention and Mitigation - Famous Landslides - Characteristics of Landslides
What is a landslide
Key Characteristics of Landslides:
1. Types: Landslides can take various forms, including rockfalls, debris flows, mudslides, and rockslides, depending on the materials involved and the velocity of movement.

2. Causes: Common triggers include intense or prolonged rainfall, rapid melting of snow or ice, earthquakes, volcanic activity, changes in groundwater levels, human activities such as deforestation, mining, or construction, and natural slope instability due to geological factors.
3. Impact: Landslides can cause significant damage to infrastructure, homes, and agriculture. They can block rivers, leading to the formation of temporary dams (landslide dams) and posing a risk of downstream flooding if the dam collapses. Landslides can also result in loss of life, injuries, and economic losses.
4. Warning Signs: Landslides often exhibit warning signs, such as cracks in the ground, tilting trees or utility poles, sudden increase in water seepage, or unusual sounds. Monitoring these signs can help in predicting and mitigating landslide risks.
5. Prevention and Mitigation: Measures to prevent or mitigate landslides include engineering solutions such as retaining walls and slope stabilization, proper land use planning to avoid building in high-risk areas, afforestation and soil conservation, early warning systems, and public awareness campaigns.
6. Famous Landslides: Notable landslides include the 1963 Vajont Dam landslide in Italy, the 1970 Ancash earthquake-triggered landslide in Peru, and the 2014 Oso landslide in Washington, USA.
Understanding the causes and potential risks associated with landslides is crucial for communities living in vulnerable areas. Proper planning, monitoring, and awareness can help minimize the impact of landslides on both human populations and the environment.