Landslide Hazards Assessment, Monitoring, and Modeling in Joshimath

15 April 2024
6:00 AM (CDT)

The Uttarakhand region, nestled within the western Himalayas, grapples with the heightened risk of landslide hazards attributed to its seismically active nature. This study incorporates the assessment, monitoring, and modeling of landslide hazards in the Joshimath region, emphasizing its vulnerability due to seismic activity and geological fragility. With over 1100 landslide incidents reported in 2023 alone, and an annual occurrence of hundreds of landslides in the Joshimath area, the need for effective risk mitigation strategies is paramount. Through comprehensive analysis and mapping, the study identifies 15 active landslide zones in Joshimath and surrounding areas. The region’s susceptibility to landslides is exacerbated by factors such as steep slopes, fragile geological formations, and the presence of active tectonic activities. Landslide susceptibility mapping (LSM) in Chamoli district reveals high susceptibility, prompting the adoption of machine learning algorithms for accurate prediction, with Random Forest yielding the highest accuracy of 98.397%.

Rainfall thresholds are derived to aid in landslide early warning systems, with SIGMA model-based thresholds proving most effective. Soil thickness assessment, crucial for environmental modeling, is conducted along major roads using innovative techniques like Geomorphologically Indexed Soil Thickness (GIST) model enhanced by Monte Carlo simulations (GIST-MCS) and Random Forest algorithm (GIST-RF). The latter demonstrates superior accuracy, validated through MASW tests. To bolster monitoring efforts, an indigenous landslide monitoring and early warning system is developed, integrating data from automatic weather stations and sensors. This system enables real-time data analysis and threshold-based warnings, enhancing preparedness and response capabilities. Furthermore, climate drivers and vegetation dynamics are integrated into hydrological modeling, utilizing advanced machine learning techniques like Random Forest for landslide prediction. The findings underscore the significance of a multi-faceted approach encompassing empirical studies, machine learning, real-time monitoring, and modeling to effectively mitigate landslide risks in the Joshimath region. By leveraging innovative methodologies and technological advancements, this study offers valuable insights and tools for enhancing landslide resilience in Uttarakhand’s vulnerable terrain.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Neelima Satyam

Dr. Neelima Satyam is currently a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Indore, and she holds a PhD and M.Tech from IIT Delhi and a B.Tech from SV University, Tirupati.

Before joining IIT Indore, she served as an assistant professor at the Earthquake Engineering Research Centre, IIIT Hyderabad. Dr. Satyam was also a visiting researcher at Kyushu University (2023), the University of Stuttgart (2018), and the University of Tokyo (2013), and she is actively involved in teaching, research, and consultancy in Geotechnical Engineering. Her expertise lies in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, Microzonation, Site Response studies, Landslide hazard, monitoring, Microseismic data processing, and Rock engineering. Dr. Satyam received research grants from DST, MHRD, AICTE, ITRA, DAE, NIOT, NRDMS, ISRO, and MoES. She published 150+ papers in International/National Journals and Conferences. Her research publications have received best paper awards from IGS, AGU, and IIT Indore. She is the Co-opted member of PAC Civil and Mechanical Engineering SERB, DST (2015-2018). She has been the Chairperson of the selection committee for MEXT Scholarships of Japan since 2015. She is a recipient of IEI Young Engineers Award 2011; BRNS Young Scientist Research Award 2011; AICTE Career award 2012 and JSPS fellowship in 2013, Young Woman Engineer award from INWES in 2012, CIDC Vishwakarma award in 2021, ISET Shamsher Prakash Mid Career Research award 2022, SERB – POWER Fellowship 2022, IGS-Sardar Resham Singh Memorial Award 2022, Best Woman Researcher in Geotechnical Engineering Award 2022 and JSPS – Bridge Fellowship 2023. She is a fellow of JSPS, IGS, ISET and IEI, and she is presently the editorial board member of several reputed journals including Nature Scientific Reports (I.F. 4.6), Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (I.F. 7.3) etc.