STATES CHRONICLE – A recent study has shown that Gorkha Earthquake produced fewer landslides than expected.
True, it was bad enough, with a magnitude of 7.8 and with a death toll of almost 9,000 people. The scientists don’t deny this. They simply say that it could have been much worse. How? If it had also produced massive landslides: then it really would have created a dire situation.
This is exactly what scientists had expected. But, surprisingly, only 4,312 landslides occurred. There were also no serious floods by glacial lakes after the earthquake.
The possible reasons are the following. The mountain rock might be stronger than had been estimated, while the forests that are full of rhododendron might have held the ground in place. Therefore, the earthquake might have been strong, but the results were not as bad as they might have been.
It was, however, strong enough to move the region southwards by two meters.
The study was conducted by the researchers of Arizona University and 35 institutions from around the globe. Jeffrey Kargel, lead author of the study and senior associate scientist at the University of Arizona used his knowledge of satellites to make a map of the landslides, monitoring especially remote mountainous areas.
The group of scientists received thousands of images from different satellites. In all, the volunteer analysts that were enlisted for the project looked at images form 10 satellites gathered from four countries.
They also availed themselves of news reports, eye-witness accounts, photos of the affected area – since right after the earthquake until about June 10 – and of a database of geohazards that occurred in Nepal and other places.
What they found out from this rich material is that all of the landslides occurred in the six weeks after the quake and they concluded, based on comparisons with other earthquakes taking place in similar geographical regions, that the landslides were rather few. Many fewer than similar earthquakes had produced.
The research also facilitated the observation that the landslides had occurred in an unexpected pattern. More specifically, the scientists realized that the hazards occurred in areas where the land had dropped, when they are most likely to occur in areas where land is lifted.
Other findings revealed that the Earth had risen of fallen by up to 5 feet in the impact zone.
Image source: www.upload.wikipedia.org