Author Archive | Mark Hounslow

Explainer: why do landslides happen and why are they so devastating?

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Mark Hounslow, Lancaster University

Landslides don’t attract the same media attention as more familiar geological hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes. And yet they can be just as disastrous and, in fact, 2014 has been a particularly bad year.

In Hiroshima, Japan, a series of landslides has left 39 people confirmed dead and a further 52 missing. In March a hillside collapsed in Washington state, US, leaving 43 dead, and in May massive mudslides in Afghanistan caused several thousand deaths. In early August, landslides in Nepal left almost 200 dead or missing.

Landslides can vary greatly in speed, water content and size. Different landslides can look very different and can vary greatly in their destructive power – size is not everything. Nevertheless, they pose a significant hazard to human life, buildings and transport routes.… Read the rest

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