A potential headward retreat landslide site at Munnar, Kerala

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2017, Geological Society of India. A potential head ward retreat landslide area was identified in Munnar, a hill station in Western Ghats of Kerala, India. This imminent landslide was suspected to be formed in three different stages viz., evolution of plateau region, upliftment of the plateau region and the consequent slope modification which ultimately facilitated landslide occurrence. Geophysical study through vertical electrical sounding reveals that more than 11 m thick soil is still left in an overhanging position in the crown portion of the landslide and the thickness continues to the top of that ridge. In the event of high rainfall, the land can fail as there is no toe support, and the slope angle is > 40º. This area is adjacent to a college building and in the event of any further landslide, the consequence will be high. Slope stability analysis using one-dimensional infinite slope stability model reveals that the entire area occupied by the college and the adjacent areas are unstable even in dry conditions. Rainfall threshold analysis shows that the landslide occurred due to very high amount of a 5-day antecedent rainfall rather than a daily rainfall during the monsoon. All these point towards a pressing requirement of landslide management practices in this area. This study also attempts to suggest a few management practices to minimize the effect of landslides.

Publication Title

Journal of the Geological Society of India