12/04/2021

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Geological Engineers Create Landslide Atlas of Kerala, India

Devoted to the thousands of life dropped in landslides, the new atlas assesses landslide
threat in thirteen districts in the Indian point out of Kerala.

The Western Ghats trailing the western edge of India are a international hotspot for biodiversity.
The southern achieve of the variety extends into Kerala, wherever the steep slopes, gentle
soils and weighty monsoon rains significantly boost the threat of landslides.

Thomas Oommen, a professor of geological engineering at Michigan Technological University, is from Kerala, and he produced the Landslide
Atlas of Kerala with colleague K.S. Sajinkumar, an assistant professor of geology
at the University of Kerala. Their perform started off in 2016 although Sajinkumar was a postdoctoral
fellow at Michigan Tech beneath Oommen’s guidance. The atlas, which supplies in-depth,
up-to-day data about landslide dangers in the point out, was published for useful use
by those people who have to have it most — folks on the ground in the area. Every single section focuses
on a precise district and is accompanied by geographic information and facts method (GIS) maps.

Landslide Atlas

Debris flows — muddy mixes of water, soil and organic materials — are the most popular
style of landslide in Kerala, ordinarily occurring concerning June and November, when monsoon
rains soak the landscape. Landslides can be easily brought on by human activity like
farming or building, and coastal cliffs are also susceptible.

“Kerala is an region with substantial chemical weathering and deep soils major to a
dad or mum materials that is easily moved by landslides,” states Scott Burns. The Portland
Point out University professor, who wrote the atlas foreward, is also president of the
Worldwide Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment.

“Reduction of assets and loss of existence are two major troubles that people of the area
are faced with,” Burns writes, incorporating that “regional inhabitants and determination makers
can see wherever the largest prospects of landslides can happen in each area with these
exceptional maps.”

Steep seaside cliffs reveal thick soil layers — a product of chemical weathering popular
in tropical locations — that boost the threat of landslides throughout Kerala, India.
Credit score: Kiran Udayakumar

GIS-TISSA

The atlas consists of a districtwide landslide susceptibility map, which notes vital influencing
threat components, significant landslides and descriptions of wherever they happened, together with
substantial engineering tasks getting put.

Oommen and Sajinkumar compiled all of the maps making use of a new device identified as GIS-TISSA.
TISSA stands for Device for Infinite Slope Steadiness Analysis and was formulated in just
a GIS natural environment. The program’s algorithms compute how unique components interact
with one particular another and assess the landslide vulnerability of an region.

A debris flow covers a hillside, full of rocks and trees.
Heavy monsoon rains concerning June and November are the primary cause for landslides
in Kerala, India. This is a debris stream in Kothamangalam. Credit score: Sajinkumar KS

GIS-TISSA makes use of Python to interface with one particular of the most broadly utilized geospatial tools
in the planet: ArcGIS. It will aid the geospatial local community appraise landslide dangers
brought on by rainfall and earthquakes via a GIS device they are now cozy
making use of. Oommen’s graduate scholar Jonathan Sanders and postdoctoral fellow Rudiger
Escobar-Wolf also contributed to GIS-TISSA enhancement.

The Landslide Atlas of Kerala sets a new conventional for analyzing threat in a landslide-inclined
area and will aid the citizens and policymakers of the point out make conclusions to
far better mitigate existence-threatening disasters.

Michigan Technological University is a community investigation college, dwelling to far more than
seven,000 pupils from 54 international locations. Launched in 1885, the University offers far more than
120 undergraduate and graduate degree applications in science and technologies, engineering,
forestry, small business and economics, health and fitness professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a couple of miles from Lake Exceptional.