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This may be of interest. Apologies if not.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 04:45 PM
Subject: Imminent landslide risk in Kashmir

From: Geotechnical Engineering Email List [mailto: ENGINEERING-GEOTECH(--nospam--at)JISCMAIL.AC.UK] On Behalf Of David N. Petley
Sent: 07 June 2006 15:00
Subject: Imminent landslide threats in Kashmir, Pakistan

Dear All,


You may remember that in February I sent an email to this list providing a link to a page that I put together about the geotechnical problems in Kashmir, Pakistan after the 8 th October 2005 earthquake.  I received some excellent feedback about this.  In the wake of this we received funding from NERC (UK Research Council) for a project to install a network of extensometers on four potential failures in this area.   As a result, I have recently returned from Kashmir (and two researchers, Dr Nick Rosser and Dr Stuart Dunning are currently there installing the instruments).  During our work there it has become apparent that the slope stability issues in Kashmir are much more   During our work there it has become apparent that the slope stability issues in Kashmir are much more serious than we had realised.


I have put together a web page highlighting just some of the issues, and providing some pictures of the truly remarkable incipient slope failures in this area.   I hope that it is of interest to you.  The web page is at: /kashmir2.htm


I hope you will see that, with the monsoon due in mid July, there are some genuinely worrying problems in that area.  I worked with the Geological Survey of Pakistan (who have compiled a hazard map for Muzaffarabad) and the authorities in Kashmir to identify the threats around Muzaffarabad, but to date we have only been able to cover a small part of the total area.  Unfortunately there is no aerial photography available at present.  No systematic stability analysis or ground investigation has been conducted on these slopes.  As a result of these initial studies, there are plans to evacuate 50,000 – 55,000 people from the affected areas in Muzaffarabad before the monsoon:

Pakistan Times story

MUZAFFARABAD (AJK): Almost 55,000 earthquake survivors will be relocated due to the danger posed by monsoon landslides in Azad Kashmir, officials said on Saturday. "A strategy is being evolved to relocate some 50 to 55 thousand people from areas prone to landslides before the start of monsoon season," the region's top administrator Kashif Murtaza said. Murtaza said that 18 villages were likely to be affected. The government would work with the United Nations and other aid agencies get the people out of harm's way, he said. "It is a big challenge to relocate the most vulnerable to safer places before the monsoon starts," Murtaza said. Depending on how many people need to be resettled the government may have to buy land near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, he added.

This is a remarkable, and highly commendable, response.  However, it is clear that for understandable the authorities are struggling to deal with the scale of the threats, in particular in hitherto unmapped areas.  


Hence, the point of this email is first to invite you to take a look at the website, which I hope you feel is interesting and informative.   Do feel free to use the contents in lectures or presentations, although note that I wish to retain copyright.  I would be delighted if you could send comments or feedback on the landslide problems there.   Please take a look in particular at Images 4, 5, 12 and 13.  I would welcome thoughts on how likely it is that slopes in this state will fail in the monsoon, when we expect 650 mm rainfall in 6 weeks based on average amounts.   Incidentally there has been no heavy rainfall since the earthquake.


Second, it is to ask whether anyone has any thoughts on the ways that we as a geotechnical community can support the Pakistani authorities in the management of these threats ahead of the monsoon in six weeks time.   It is my feeling that this represents probably the greatest geotechnical threat worldwide at present.  My group are installing extensometers and mapping some slopes with laser scanning, but this will only cover four of the most serious slope threats


Please do drop me a line.


Warm regards


Dave Petley



David Petley

Wilson Professor of Hazard and Risk

International Landslide Centre

Department of Geography, University of Durham

Durham DH1 3LE

Tel: +44 191 334 1909    Fax: +44 191 334 1801

Email: d.n.petley(--nospam--at)