Why are the Himalayas highly prone to landslides?

Landslides are generally mass movement of soil or rocks along the slopes of mountains. They are quite common in hilly regions due to less stability of rocks, solid, debris etc. Since, Himalayas are the young fold mountains or V-shaped valley, caused by the collision of Indo-Australian plate with the Eurasian plate, also are highly prone to landslides which leads heavy loss of both life & property.

There are some natural as well as anthropogenic causes behind landslides. Let’s check out a few of them:

Natural Causes

  • Earthquakes: Earthquakes are often in Himalaya region which causes loosening of soils that further leads to landslides.

  • Rainfall: Heavy rainfall also leads to soil erosion and landslides in the Himalayas.

  • Slope: The steep and sharp slopes of the Himalayan mountains is one of the major reasons for frequent landslides compared to other regions in India.

Anthropogenic Causes

  • The Jhum Cultivation, also known as slice and burn type of cultivation is frequently practiced in the Himalayan region, causes landslides.

  • Cutting of trees- Himalayan region reserves a wide diversity of trees and this availability of trees led to indiscriminate chopping of trees.

  • Illegal mining and industrial activities also are the major causes of landslides in this region.