LANDSLIDE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     27th May 2024        

Context: As rescue efforts persist, the UN migration agency recently estimated that over 670 people may have perished in Papua New Guinea's extensive landslide.


  • Meaning: Landslides are natural disasters occurring mainly in mountainous terrains where there are conducive conditions of soil, rock, geology and slope. 

o A sudden movement of rock, boulders, earth or debris down a slope is termed as a landslide. 

  • Factors behind landslide:

o Natural factors: Heavy rainfall, earthquakes, snow melting and undercutting of slopes due to flooding. 

o Anthropogenic factors: Excavation, cutting of hills and trees, excessive infrastructure development, and overgrazing by cattle.

o Other factors: Lithology, geological structures like faults, hill slopes, drainage, geomorphology, land use and land cover, soil texture and depth, and weathering of rocks.

  • Classification: Landslides are broadly classified based on:

o Type of materials involved: Rock, debris, soil, loose mud), 

o Type of movement of the material: Fall, topple, slide, rotational slide or translational slide, and 

o Type of flow of the material. 

o Another category is of landslides that spread laterally

  • Impacts: Threat to human and animal lives, damaging property, roads and bridges, disrupting communication lines and snapping power lines etc.

Papua New Guinea

  • Located: Situated in the southwestern Pacific and encompasses the eastern half of New Guinea, the world's second-largest island, along with numerous smaller offshore islands.
  • Boundaries: It shares its borders with Indonesia to the west, Australia to the south, and the Solomon Islands to the southeast.