Gaining a better understanding of factors that contribute to the location of rainfall-induced landslides affecting alpine transport networks is an important first stem in protecting against such events, and maintaining access to critical regions during intense weather events. Three days of late monsoon rainfall in the Bhutan Himalaya this year generated an unprecedented degree of landsliding on the principal highway between the nation’s capital and main population centers to the east. In a preliminary study, we have recorded more than 300 landslides in georeferenced photographs along a 25 km stretch of the national highway. In this project we will review the landslide record in order to better understand the key contributing factors to high risk slope instability in the region. This will involve the generation of a landslide database to record key attributes, comparison with large-scale slope failures and geomorphological features, and statistical analysis of landslide distributions. We will use a combination of georeferenced photographs, geotechnical data recorded in the field, and GIS to evaluate the landslide distributions. Knowledge of GIS, Excel, and/or Matlab would be useful though is not necessary.
Supervisor: Kerry Leith (email@example.com), Benedetta Dini, Larissa de Palézieux