Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Ulrich Kamp

Commitee Members

Rebecca Bendick, Sarah Halvorson


Earthquake, GIS, Hazard, Himalaya, Kashmir, Landslides, Remote sensing, Susceptibility


University of Montana


The October 8, 2005 Kashmir earthquake triggered several thousand landslides throughout the Himalaya of northern Pakistan and India. A spatial database, which included 2252 landslides, was developed and analyzed using ASTER satellite imagery and geographical information system (GIS) technology. A multi-criterion evaluation was applied to determine the significance of event-controlling parameters in triggering the landslides. The parameters included lithology, faults, slope gradient, slope aspect, elevation, land cover, rivers and roads. The results were broken down into four classes of landslide susceptibility. The results indicated that lithology had the strongest influence on landsliding, particularly when the rock is highly fractured, such as in the shale, slate, clastic sediments, and limestone and dolomite. Moreover, the proximity of the landslides to faults, rivers, and roads was also an important factor in helping to initiate failures. In addition, landslides occurred particularly in moderate elevations on south facing slopes. Shrub land, grassland, and also agricultural land were highly susceptible to failures, while forested slopes had few landslides. One-third of the study area was highly or very highly susceptible to future landsliding and requires immediate mitigation action. The rest of the region had a low or moderate susceptibility to landsliding and remains relatively stable. This study supports the view that earthquake-triggered landslides are concentrated in specific zones associated with event-controlling parameters. It also concludes that western Himalaya deforestation and road construction are susceptible to landsliding during and shortly after earthquakes.



© Copyright 2008 Benjamin Growley