Natural Hazards

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 379–390 | Cite as

Impact of the Trans-Himalayan Landslide Lake Outburst Flood (LLOF) in the Satluj catchment, Himachal Pradesh, India

  • Vikram Gupta
  • M. P. Sah
Original Paper


Landslide Lake Outburst Floods (LLOFs) are common in the Himalayan river basins. These are caused by breaching of lakes created by landslides. The active and palaeo-landslide mapping along the Satluj and Spiti Rivers indicate that these rivers were blocked and breached at many places during the Quaternary period. In the present article, we document LLOFs during 2000 and 2005 caused by the breaching of landslide lakes created in the Trans-Himalayan region along the Satluj River and Paree Chu (stream), respectively, both in the Tibetan region of China and its impact on the channel and infrastructure in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It has been observed that the loss of life and property due to these LLOFs is directly related to the disposition of the Quaternary materials and the different morphological zones observed in the area.


Landslide Landslide Lake Outburst Flood (LLOF) Satluj River Trans-Himalaya 



The authors thank the Director, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehra Dun for extending all the necessary facilities to carry out the work. Discharge data provided by the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board, Jai Parkash Industries Ltd and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd are thankfully acknowledged. Information provided by the Kinnaur district administration, Border Road Organisation and the local people about the damages caused by 2000 and 2005 LLOFs were of immense help.


  1. Chang L (1934) Investigation of the Deixi Earthquake, Sichuan. Geol Soc of China, Nanking, China. Comments on Geology 3(3):251–292Google Scholar
  2. Costa JE, Schuster R (1988) The formation and failure of natural dams. Geol Soc Am Bull 100:1054–1068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Eisbacher G H, Clague JJ (1984) Destructive mass movements in high mountains—hazard and management. Geological Survey of Canada Paper, Ottawa, 84–16, p 230Google Scholar
  4. Feng S, Yao TD, Jiang H (2001) Temperature variations over Qinghai–Xizang plateau in the past 600 years. Plateau Meteorol 20:105–108Google Scholar
  5. Gasiev E (1984) Study of the Usoy landslide in Pamir. International Symposium on landslide. 4th Toronto, Canada, September 16–21, 1984, Proceedings vol 1, 511–515Google Scholar
  6. Gupta V (1996) Structure and Geomorphology of the Upper Satluj Valley, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, with special reference to landslides. D. Phil. Dissertation, HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  7. Gupta V, Sah MP, Virdi NS, Bartarya SK (1994) Landslide hazard zonation in the Upper Satluj Valley, District Kinaur, Himachal Pradesh. J Him Geol 4(1):81–93Google Scholar
  8. Gupta V, Virdi NS (2000) On the connection between landslides and nickpoints along the Satluj River course, Higher Himalaya, India. Z Geomorph NF Suppl-Bd 122:141–148Google Scholar
  9. Hewitt K (1982) Natural dams and outbursts floods of the Karakoram Himalaya. In: Glenn JW (ed) Hydrological aspects of alpine and high mountains areas. International Association of Hydrological Sciences publication 138:259–269Google Scholar
  10. Holmes A (1965) Principles of physical geology. Ronald Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. King J, Loveday I, Schuster RL (1989) The 1985 Bairaman landslide dam and resulting debris flow, Papua New Guinea. Q J Eng Geol, Geol Soc Lond 22(4):257–270Google Scholar
  12. Lee KL, Duncan JM (1975) Landslide of April 25, 1974 on the Mantaro River, Peru. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, p 72Google Scholar
  13. Li T, Schuster RL, Jishan W (1986) Landslide dam in south-central China. In: Schuster RL (ed) Landslide dams—processes, risk, and mitigation. Am Soc Civil Eng, Geotechnical Special Publication 3:146–162Google Scholar
  14. Schuster RL (2000) A worldwide perspective on landslide dams. In: Usoi landslide dam and lake Sarez—an assessment of hazard and risk in the Pamir mountains, Tajikistan, UN, ISDR Prevention Series 1:19–22Google Scholar
  15. Scott KM (1985) Lahars and lahars-run out flows in the Toutle-Cowlitz River System, Mount St. Helens, Washington—origins, behaviour and sedimentology. USGS open file report 85–500:205Google Scholar
  16. Shang Y, Yang Z, Li L, Liu D, Liao Q, Wang Y (2003) A super-large landslide in Tibet in 2000: background, occurrence, disaster and origin. Geomorph 54:225–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sharma KK (1976) A contribution to the geology of Satluj Valley, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India. Collques Internationaux du CNRS 268:369–378Google Scholar
  18. Statistical abstract of Kinnaur district (1991–2005) Issued by Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Govt of H.P.Shimla and District Statistical office, District Kinnaur, HPGoogle Scholar
  19. Xue-Cai F, An-ning G (1986) Principal characteristics of earthquake landslides in China. Geologiga Applicata e Idrogeologia Italy 21(2):2745Google Scholar
  20. Zhang DL, Tang XP (2000) Analyses of the change of temperature and rainfall in Tibet in the past 40 years. Tibet Sci Technol 2:62–66Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wadia Institute of Himalayan GeologyDehra DunIndia

Personalised recommendations