An IIT Delhi team creates India’s first high-resolution landslide Susceptibility map of India.


Numerous States in North India had severe floods and landslides in late 2023 as a result of intense rains during the northeast monsoon, which claimed hundreds of lives. A national landslide susceptibility map can help identify the most vulnerable places and help better allocate resources for mitigation efforts, especially considering the amount of fatalities caused by landslides in India.

Landslide Susceptibility Mapping: What Is It?

Making maps that show places vulnerable to landslides base on specific criteria known as “landslide susceptibility mapping.” For example, a computer model might analyze these variables to forecast locations at high risk using data on previous landslide incidents and variables like slope steepness, soil type, and vegetation cover.

What are the features of landslide susceptibility mapping?

Sources of Data 1.5 lakh records landslide incidents includes in the map from several sources, including the Geological Survey of India (GSI). In addition, 16 landslide conditioning elements taken into account, such as soil cover, tree density, and proximity to mountains or roadways.

Mapping and Learning Analysis

Methods of ensemble machine learning were use to analyze the data. To lessen the impact of any one model’s shortcomings, this entails combining numerous machine learning models.

Elevated-Resolution Cartography

With a fine resolution of 100 sqm, the map offers a high-resolution overview and insights regarding India’s susceptibility to landslides.

Determination of Novel Risk Areas

Known high-susceptibility regions were identifying, including the Western Ghats, the Assam-Meghalaya region, and the foothills of the Himalayas.

Additionally, previously unknown risk zones were identifying, including sections of the Eastern Ghats to the north of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Internet Reach

The public can view and download the map via the internet. Anyone can engage with the data thanks to it; technical knowledge is not necessary.

To be use Later the team intends to create a Landslide Early Warning System for India, and the map intends to help organizations and policymakers with landslide investigation and mitigation.

Landslide susceptibility map of India

Landslide susceptibility map of India

What are landslides?

Landslides, sometimes referred to as landslips, are a variety of mass wasting phenomena that can include rockfalls, mudflows, shallow or deep-seated slope failures, and debris flows, among other ground motions. Landslides can occur in a range of places, such as mountain ranges, coastal cliffs, or even underwater, in which case they are referred to as submarine landslides. They are characterized by either steep or gradual slope gradients.

Causes of landslides

When a slope, or a section of it, experiences certain processes that transform its stable state into an unstable one, landslides result. This is mostly caused by either a rise in the shear stress that the material is bearing, a decrease in the slope material’s shear strength, or a combination of the two. A multitude of factors, either working alone or in combination, can alter the stability of a slope. Among the natural causes of landslides are:

  • Rise of groundwater or increase in pore water pressure (e.g. Due to aquifer recharging in wet seasons, or by rain water infiltration);
  • Loss of suction or saturation from rainwater infiltration, snowmelt, or melting glaciers;
  • The loss or absence of soil nutrients, soil structure, and vertical vegetative structure (e.g. During a wildfire);
  • An increase in hydrostatic pressure in cracks and fractures; rivers’ or the sea’s waves’ erosion of a slope’s top;
  • Physical and chemical weathering (such as that caused by frequent freezing and thawing, heating and cooling, salt seeping into groundwater, or mineral breakdown);
  • Earthquake-induced ground shaking, which can immediately destabilize the slope (for example, by causing soil liquefaction) or degrade the material and create fissures that eventually result in a landslide;
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • variations in the composition of the pore fluid;
  • variations in temperature (seasonal or caused by climate change)

Human activities exacerbate landslides, including:

Deforestation, agriculture, and construction; noise from machinery or traffic; blasting and mining; earthwork (e.g., by reshaping a slope or placing additional loads); the removal of deeply rooted vegetation in shallow soils that binds colluvium to bedrock; logging in agriculture and forestry; and urbanization, which alters the amount of water infiltrating the soil.

Recent Landslides

Raigad landslide

In India’s Maharashtra state, Raigad saw a landslide. Heavy rains precipitated the landslide, which left at least 26 people dead and an estimated 100 more buried beneath the rubble.

Manipur landslide

On June 30, 2022, a sizable landslide happened in the Noney district of the Indian state of Manipur, close to the Tupul railway building site. Three people went lost and 58 people were slain. There were eighteen injuries. Among the dead were 29 civilians and 29 members of the Indian Army. Two of the three persons that went missing were civilians, and the third was an Indian Army member.

Mumbai landslide

The 2021 Mumbai landslide was a sequence of landslides that happened on July 18, 2021, in the suburban Mumbai, India neighborhoods of Chembur and Vikhroli. When they became trapped beneath houses that fell as a result of landslides brought on by heavy rains, at least thirty-two persons were killed and numerous others were injured.

Pettimudi landslide

With great noise, the boulder broke free from the Iravikulam National Park boundary and plunged into the Pettimudi River, demolishing the labor camps located two kilometers below. The homes that the Kannandevan Hills Plantation laborers inhabited were demolished. Since most of them were asleep, they were unable to flee. The catastrophe was delayed in reaching the outside world because the electricity supply was cut off. The land became ten feet deep with dirt, and large boulders fell in several spots.

Measures to reduce landslides

There are several ways to lessen landslides in India.

  1. Afforestation: Adding flora and trees to the soil stabilizes it and lowers the risk of landslides.
  2. 2. Moving: Building terraces on sloping terrain aids in reducing soil erosion and managing water flow.
  3. Retaining walls: Constructing retaining walls can stabilize steep slopes by halting soil movement.
  4. Drainage systems: Well-designed drainage channels help control excess water, lowering the chance of landslides and soil saturation.
  5. Early warning systems: Using technology to monitor and forecast landslides aids in the evacuation of high-risk locations.
  6. Land-use planning: Restrictions that limit building on steep slopes can reduce the amount of human activity in landslide-prone areas.
  7. Slope stabilization techniques: Slopes can be stabilized by engineering solutions such as geotextiles, mesh, or rock bolts.
  8. Educational campaigns: Increasing community awareness
India’s government was implementing a number of programs to lessen landslides, including:
  1. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): When creating plans, rules, and guidelines for disaster management—including landslide management—NDMA is a key component.
  2. The program on Himalayan Geology: The Himalayan region’s geology is being studied by the Ministry of Earth Sciences in order to better understand and reduce the risk of landslides.
  3. National Center for Remote Sensing (NRSC): The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which oversees the NRSC, uses remote sensing and satellite photography to monitor landslides and estimate their risk.
  4. Initiatives at the state level: Numerous landslide-prone states, including Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, have put in place state-specific initiatives to mitigate the risk of landslides. These projects frequently deal with infrastructure 


In conclusion, effective landslide management requires a multifaceted approach that integrates proactive measures at various levels. Thus, landslide susceptibility map will help in mitigating the challenges. Governments and communities must prioritize policies and actions that encompass early warning systems, sustainable land-use planning, infrastructure development with geotechnical considerations, and community education. Research initiatives, remote sensing technologies, and geological studies contribute to a better understanding of landslide risks. A comprehensive strategy, incorporating afforestation, erosion control, and emergency preparedness, can collectively minimize the impact of landslides, safeguarding lives, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Ongoing collaboration between government agencies, research institutions, and local communities is crucial for the successful implementation of landslide management efforts.