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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats. (150 words)

    07 Feb, 2022 GS Paper 1 Geography


    • Introduce with what are landslides and general causes of landslides.
    • Discuss some of the unique causes which are associated to the particular region only (Aspirants must draw a map of India showing vulnerability of landslides).
    • Give a way forward in brief.


    A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope.

    They are a type of mass wasting, which denotes any downward movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity.


    Landslides are caused due to three major factors: geology, morphology, and human activity.

    • Geology refers to characteristics of the material. The earth or rock might be weak or fractured, or different layers may have different strengths and stiffness.
    • Morphology refers to the structure of the land. For example, slopes that lose their vegetation to fire or drought are more vulnerable to landslides.
    • Human activity which includes agriculture and construction increases the risk of a landslide.

    Causes of Landslides in Himalayan Region

    • Geology: Himalayas are?young, fragile mountains still growing, hence susceptible to natural landslides, ?tectonic activity, with the plate moving up?which?causes instability.
    • Morphological: ?Steep and sharp slope?in the Himalayas.
    • Anthropogenic: These include,?jhum cultivation, deforestation?etc., leading to landslides.?

    Causes of Landslides in Western Ghats

    • Geology: These factors play a very little role here as the Western Ghats are one of the most stable landmasses.
    • Anthropogenic: Heavy mining activities, Deforestation for settlements?and cutting for?road construction, Windmill projects?have led to?huge fractures?on the mountains,?loosening structures.?


    Following Measures for the mitigation of landslides can be taken -

    • Restriction on the construction and other developmental activities such as roads and dams in the areas prone to landslides.
    • Limiting agriculture to valleys and areas with moderate slopes.
    • Promoting large-scale afforestation programmes and construction of bunds to reduce the flow of water.
    • Terrace farming should be encouraged in the northeastern hill states where Jhumming (Slash and Burn/Shifting Cultivation) is still prevalent.

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