Environmental Geology

, Volume 57, Issue 6, pp 1423–1434 | Cite as

Causes of large-scale landslides in the Lesser Himalaya of central Nepal

  • Shuichi HasegawaEmail author
  • Ranjan Kumar Dahal
  • Minoru Yamanaka
  • Netra Prakash Bhandary
  • Ryuichi Yatabe
  • Hideki Inagaki
Original Article


Geologically and tectonically active Himalayan Range is characterized by highly elevated mountains and deep river valleys. Because of steep mountain slopes, and dynamic geological conditions, large-scale landslides are very common in Lesser and Higher Himalayan zones of Nepal Himalaya. Slopes along the major highways of central Nepal namely Prithvi Highway, Narayangadh-Mugling Road and Tribhuvan Highway are considered in this study of large-scale landslides. Geologically, the highways in consideration pass through crushed and jointed Kathmandu Nappe affected by numerous faults and folds. The relict large-scale landslides have been contributing to debris flows and slides along the highways. Most of the slope failures are mainly bechanced in geological formations consisting phyllite, schist and gneiss. Laboratory test on the soil samples collected from the failure zones and field investigation suggested significant hydrothermal alteration in the area. The substantial hydrothermal alteration in the Lesser Himalaya during advancement of the Main Central Thrust (MCT) and thereby clay mineralization in sliding zones of large-scale landslide are the main causes of large-scale landslides in the highways of central Nepal. This research also suggests that large-scale landslides are the major cause of slope failure during monsoon in the Lesser Himalaya of Nepal. Similarly, hydrothermal alteration is also significant in failure zone of the large-scale landslides. For the sustainable road maintenance in Nepal, it is of utmost importance to study the nature of sliding zones of large-scale landslides along the highways and their role to cause debris flows and slides during monsoon period.


Himalaya Landslides Clay minerals Hydrothermal alteration 



This research was partly support by “Grant-in-Aid for Overseas Scientific Research and Investigation” of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, Japan. Mr. Anjan Kumar Dahal and Ms. Seiko Tsuruta are sincerely acknowledged for their technical support during the preparation of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuichi Hasegawa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ranjan Kumar Dahal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Minoru Yamanaka
    • 1
  • Netra Prakash Bhandary
    • 3
  • Ryuichi Yatabe
    • 3
  • Hideki Inagaki
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Safety Systems Construction Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringKagawa UniversityTakamatsu CityJapan
  2. 2.Department of GeologyTribhuvan UniversityKathmanduNepal
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of Science and EngineeringEhime UniversityMatsuyamaJapan
  4. 4.Kankyo Chishitsu Co. Ltd.Kawasaki CityJapan

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