• Mallickarjun Joshi

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Geological and geotechnical characterisation of the Khotila landslide in the Dharchula region, NE Kumaun Himalaya

      Ambar Solanki Vikram Gupta Bhakuni S S Pratap Ram Mallickarjun Joshi

      More Details Abstract Fulltext PDF

      On 04 October 2016, a severe landslide had occurred in the vicinity of Khotila village in Dharchula, region of NE Kumaun Himalaya. This landslide may be classified as typical rockslide, involving thin veneer of debris on the slope as well as the highly shattered rockmass. The slide has been divided into three morpho-dynamic zones, viz., (i) Zone of detachment between elevation 1000 and 960 m, (ii) Zone of transportation between elevation 960 and 910 m, and (iii) Zone of accumulation between elevation 910 and 870 m. The landslide had occurred at the end of the monsoon season when the slope was completely saturated. It has been noted that the area received $\sim$88% rainfall during the monsoon months which is about two times more rainfall during 2016 monsoon than during 2015 monsoon. Geotechnical testing of the soil overlying the rockmass, corroborate the soil as ‘soft soil’ with compressive strength of 42 kPa and friction angle of 27.4$^{\circ}$. Granulometry confirms the soil as having >97% sand and silt size particles and <3% clay size particles, indicating higher permeability. Mineralogically, the soil dominantly constitutes quartz, muscovite and clinochore. Though no swelling clay minerals has been observed, the higher permeability and low strength of the soil, and concentrated higher rainfall during 2016 are the main causes for the landslide to occur. This landslide has partially blocked the flow of Kali river that serve as a boundary between India and Nepal and is endangering the habitants of the Khotila and Bangabagar villages, situated downstream in the Indian and Nepalese side of the Himalaya. In order to understand the stability of the slope, finite element modelling of the landslide has been carried out that points towards higher concentration of stresses in the landslide zone, indicating that there is further probability for the failure of landslide mass. It is therefore suggested that the landslide must be monitored continuously, particularly during the rainy season and also the risk posed by this landslide must be evaluated so as to avoid any further loss to life and infrastructure in the region.

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