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Gifts and Perils of Landslides

Catastrophic rockslides and related landscape developments are an integral part of human settlement along upper Indus streams

Kenneth Hewitt

2010-09HewittF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageMore than 340 large landslides have been identified along the Indus streams of the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and northwest Himalaya mountains. Most predate historical records but continue to influence landscape developments. Land use is closely adapted to landforms controlled by the landslides. Many villages and some small towns sit amid landslide rubble, as do ancient cultural sites, modern roads, airfields and tourist facilities. The environmental knowledge and stories of local people reveal an understanding of these events and the geohazards they involve. Perhaps surprisingly landslides have added much habitable territory to these remote and high-altitude regions.


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