Characteristics of landslide path dependency revealed through multiple resolution landslide inventories in the Nepal Himalaya

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Storm Roberts, Joshua Nathan Jones, Sarah J Boulton 


Recent research in Umbria, Italy, has shown that landslide susceptibility is controlled by a process called path-dependency, which describes how past landslides control the locations of future landslides. To date, landslide path-dependency has only been characterised in Italy. This raises the question of whether this process occurs in other geomorphic settings, and thus whether path-dependency should be more universally included in landslide susceptibility assessments. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to investigate and quantify landslide path dependency in the Nepal Himalaya. This is achieved by applying several path dependent metrics to three monsoon-triggered landslide inventories for the central-eastern Nepal Himalaya. These inventories were developed at two different spatial and temporal resolutions. As such, we aim not just to quantify landslide path-dependency, but also assess whether path dependency characteristics are resolution-dependent. We find strong evidence that landslide path dependency is occurring in Nepal, with all three inventories having more overlap between past and new landslides than expected from a random distribution, and a tentative observation that the expected degree of overlap between landslides decreases with time. Finally, whilst path-dependency is observable across both of the investigated inventory resolutions, we find that the rates and magnitudes of the quantified path dependent metrics are sensitive to inventory length, study region size and the size/type of landslides mapped. Overall, our results corroborate the path-dependency observations from Italy, confirming that this process does occur in other geomorphic settings, and thus suggesting that path-dependency should be explicitly and universally considered in landslide susceptibility approaches.



Earth Sciences, Geology, Geomorphology


Landslides, Himalaya, Nepal, Landslide susceptibility, Himalaya, Nepal, Path dependency, Landslide Susceptibility, Nepal Himalaya, Path dependency


Published: 2021-06-18 23:37

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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