Articles | Volume 23, issue 4
Brief communication
 | Highlight paper
19 Apr 2023
Brief communication | Highlight paper |  | 19 Apr 2023

Brief communication: The northwest Himalaya towns slipping towards potential disaster

Yaspal Sundriyal, Vipin Kumar, Neha Chauhan, Sameeksha Kaushik, Rahul Ranjan, and Mohit Kumar Punia

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Cited articles

Agarwal, S., Kumar, V., Kumar, S., Sundriyal, Y., Bagri, D. S., Chauhan, N., Kaushik, S., Khan, F., and Rana, N.: Identifying potential hotspots of land use/land cover change in the last 3 decades, Uttarakhand, NW Himalaya, arXiv [preprint],, 5 July 2022. 
Bilham, R.: Himalayan earthquakes: a review of historical seismicity and early 21st century slip potential, Geol. Soc. Spec. Publ., 483, 423–482,, 2019. 
Dimri, A. P., Niyogi, D., Barros, A. P., Ridley, J., Mohanty, U. C., Yasunari, T., and Sikka, D. R.: Western disturbances: a review, Rev. Geophys., 53, 225–246,, 2015. 
Gupta, V., Jamir, I., Kumar, V., and Devi, M.: Geomechanical characterisation of slopes for assessing rockfall hazards in the Upper Yamuna Valley, Northwest Higher Himalaya, India, Himal. Geol., 38, 156–170, 2016. 
Executive editor
This paper presents current research findings that have recently been caught up with reality. One of the case studies reported, Joshimath, experienced a large acceleration in slope deformation in January 2023 that has damaged and destroyed many homes and businesses and has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and unrest within the town. This has been covered in many international news outlets (e.g. BBC, CNN, Reuters, Le Monde), and has raised questions about development issues in at-risk areas in the Himalaya.
Short summary
The NW Himalaya has been one of the most affected terrains of the Himalaya, subject to disastrous landslides. This article focuses on two towns (Joshimath and Bhatwari) of the NW Himalaya, which have been witnessing subsidence for decades. We used a slope stability simulation to determine the response of the hillslopes accommodating these towns under various loading conditions. We found that the maximum displacement in these hillslopes might reach up to 20–25 m.
Final-revised paper