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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Landslides are prevalent in the Western Ghats, and the incidences that happened in 2021 in the Koottickal area of the Kottayam district (Western Ghats) resulted in the loss of 10 lives. The objectives of this study are to assess the landslide susceptibility of the high-range local self-governments (LSGs) in the Kottayam district using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and fuzzy-AHP (F-AHP) models and to compare the performance of existing landslide susceptible maps. This area never witnessed any massive landslides of this dimension, which warrants the necessity of relooking into the existing landslide-susceptible models. For AHP and F-AHP modeling, ten conditioning factors were selected: slope, soil texture, land use/land cover (LULC), geomorphology, road buffer, lithology, and satellite image-derived indices such as the normalized difference road landslide index (NDRLI), the normalized difference water index (NDWI), the normalized burn ratio (NBR), and the soil-adjusted vegetation index (SAVI). The landslide-susceptible zones were categorized into three: low, moderate, and high. The validation of the maps created using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) technique ascertained the performances of the AHP, F-AHP, and TISSA maps as excellent, with an area under the ROC curve (AUC) value above 0.80, and the NCESS map as acceptable, with an AUC value above 0.70. Though the difference is negligible, the map prepared using the TISSA model has better performance (AUC = 0.889) than the F-AHP (AUC = 0.872), AHP (AUC = 0.867), and NCESS (AUC = 0.789) models. The validation of maps employing other matrices such as accuracy, mean absolute error (MAE), and root mean square error (RMSE) also confirmed that the TISSA model (0.869, 0.226, and 0.122, respectively) has better performance, followed by the F-AHP (0.856, 0.243, and 0.147, respectively), AHP (0.855, 0.249, and 0.159, respectively), and NCESS (0.770, 0.309, and 0.177, respectively) models. The most landslide-inducing factors in this area that were identified through this study are slope, soil texture, LULC, geomorphology, and NDRLI. Koottickal, Poonjar-Thekkekara, Moonnilavu, Thalanad, and Koruthodu are the LSGs that are highly susceptible to landslides. The identification of landslide-susceptible areas using diversified techniques will aid decision-makers in identifying critical infrastructure at risk and alternate routes for emergency evacuation of people to safer terrain during an exigency.

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