Natural Hazards

, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 863–877 | Cite as

Landslide Hazard in the Nainital township, Kumaun Himalaya, India: the case of September 2014 Balia Nala landslide

  • Vikram Gupta
  • Rajinder K. Bhasin
  • Amir M. Kaynia
  • Ruchika Sharma Tandon
  • B. Venkateshwarlu
Original Paper


Nainital township located in the Kumaun Lesser Himalaya is known to be vulnerable to landslides since past, and it has been reported that half of the area of the township is covered with debris generated by landslide. A disastrous landslide in the Rais Hotel locality on the right side of the Balia Nala struck during September 2014 after the excessive rainfall. Geologically, the area dominantly comprises limestone with shale and slate which are highly crushed and weathered due to the presence of the Nainital Lake Fault that extends into Balia Nala as Balia Nala Fault. Ground-penetrating radar study depicts that these rocks are overlain by thin debris cover of the order of 5–10 m. The geotechnical studies confirm these rocks and the overlying soil as having very low strength. The landslide has triggered because of the excessive rainfall in the area. It has been observed that rainfall in the area has increased since 2010. An increase in more than 100 % intensity of rainfall during the monsoon from an average 33 mm per day (1995–2013) to 68 mm per day in 2014 is the main triggering factor for the initiation of landslide. The area has been continuously monitored for the last more than 3 years, as the distress in the area has been reported in the form of development of cracks. In order to prevent further sliding, immediate measures have to be taken to channelise water on both sides of the hill slopes so that the ingress of water into the slope is minimum.


Landslide Rais Hotel colony Balia Nala Nainital Kumaun Himalaya India 



Authors thank the Director, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehra Dun, for his kind permission to publish the paper. Work carried out in the project has been funded by Norwegian Govt. under joint Indo-Norwegian collaborative programme and is thankfully acknowledged. Facilities of the National Geotechnical Facility created by Dept. of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, Dehra Dun, have been used for the present work.


  1. Auden JB (1942) Geological report on the hill side of Nainital. Geological Survey of India, unpublished reportGoogle Scholar
  2. Barton N, Choubey V (1977) The shear strength of rock joints in theory and practice. Rock Mech 10:1–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhasin R, Grimstad E, Larsen JO, Dhawan AK, Singh R, Verma SK, Venkatachalam K (2002) Landslide hazard and mitigation measures at Gangtok, Sikkim Himalaya. Eng Geol 64:351–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bist KS, Sah MP (1999) The devastating landslide of August 1998 in Ukhimath area, Rudraprayag district, Garhwal Himalaya. Curr Sci 76(4):481–484Google Scholar
  5. CBRI (1983) Stability of the hill slopes supporting the proposed aerial passenger ropeway at Sher-Ka-Danda Hills, Nainital. Report Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, 32 ppGoogle Scholar
  6. DMMC (2011) Slope instability and geo-environmental issues of the area around Nainital. Report Disaster Mitigation and Management Center 92 ppGoogle Scholar
  7. Gupta V (2009) Non-destructive testing of some Higher Himalayan Rocks in the Satluj Valley. Bull Eng Geol Environ 68:409–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gupta V, Ahmed I (2007) The effect of pH of water and mineralogical properties on the slake durability (degradability) of different rocks from the Lesser Himalaya, India. Eng Geol 95:79–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gupta V, Bist KS (2004) The 23 September 2003 Varunavat Parvat landslide in the Uttarkashi Township, Uttaranchal. Curr Sci 87(11):1600–1605Google Scholar
  10. Gupta V, Sah MP (2008) Impact of the trans-Himalayan landslide lake outburst flood (LLOF) in the Satluj catchment, Himachal Pradesh, India. Nat Haz 45:379–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gupta V, Dobhal DP, Vaideswaran SC (2013) August 2012 cloudburst and subsequent flash flood in the Asi Ganga, a tributary of the Bhagirathi river, Garhwal Himalaya, India. Curr Sci 105(2):249–253Google Scholar
  12. Heim A, Gansser A (1939) Central Himalaya. Mem Soc Helv Sci Nat 73:1–245Google Scholar
  13. Holland TH (1897) Report on the geological structure and stability of hill slopes around Nainital. Geological Survey of India, unpublished reportGoogle Scholar
  14. Hukku BM, Jaitely GM (1964) A geological report on the investigations of the stability of hill slopes around Nainital. Geological Survey of India, unpublished reportGoogle Scholar
  15. IMD (2013) A preliminary report on heavy rainfall over Uttarakhand during 16–18 June 2013. India Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, July 2013.
  16. Jiang G, Christie-Blick N, Kaufman AJ, Banerjee DM, Rai V (2002) Sequence stratigraphy of the neoproterozoic infra Krol formation and Krol group, Lesser Himalaya, India. J Sediment Res 72(4):524–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kotlia BS, Joshi LM, Dumka RK, Kumar K (2009) Vulnerability of the Balia Nala landslide at Nainital: preliminary GPs analysis. In: Sah BL (ed) Natural resource conservation in Uttarakhand. Ankit Publication, Haldwani, pp 136–150Google Scholar
  18. Middlemiss CS (1890) Geological sketch of Nainital with some remarks on the natural conditions governing mountain slopes. Records Geological Survey of India 23, Geological Survey of India, CalcuttaGoogle Scholar
  19. Middlemiss CS (1898) Report on the Kailakhan landslip near Nainital of 17th August 1898. Government Press, CalcuttaGoogle Scholar
  20. Naithani AK, Joshi V, Prasad C (2002) Investigation on the impact of cloudburst in Tehri District, Uttaranchal—31 August 2001. J Geol Soc Ind 60:573–577Google Scholar
  21. Nautiyal SP (1949) A note on the stability of certain hill sides in and around Nainital, Uttar Pradesh. Geological Survey of India, Bulletin Series B 15(2). Geological Survey of India, CalcuttaGoogle Scholar
  22. Paul SK, Bartarya SK, Rautela P, Mahajan AK (2000) Catastrophic mass movement of 1998 monsoons at Malpa in Kali Valley, Kumaun Himalaya (India). Geomorphology 35:169–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rana N, Sundriyal YP, Juyal N (2012) Recent cloudburst-induced landslides around Okhimath, Uttarakhand. Curr Sci 103(12):1389–1390Google Scholar
  24. Sah MP, Bist KS (1998) Catastrophic mass movement of August 1998 in Okhimath area Garhwal Himalaya. In: Proceedings of international workshop cum training programme on landslide hazard and risk assessment and damage control for sustainable development, New Delhi, pp 259–282Google Scholar
  25. Sah MP, Asthana AKL, Rawat BS (2003) Cloud burst of August 10, 2002 and related landslides and Debris flows around Budha Kedar (Thati Kathur) in Balganga valley, District Tehri. Himal Geol 24(2):87–101Google Scholar
  26. Sharma VK (1998) Report on the geological and geomorphological evaluation of Nainital area with special reference to stability of slopes urbanisation. Geological Survey of India, unpublished ReportGoogle Scholar
  27. Tandon RS, Gupta V (2015) Estimation of strength characteristics of different Himalayan rocks from Schmidt hammer rebound, point load index, and compressional wave velocity. Bull Eng Geol Environ. doi: 10.1007/s10064-014-0629-1 Google Scholar
  28. Valdiya KS (1988) Geology and natural environment of Nainital hills, Kumaun Himalaya, Gyanodaya Prakashan, Nainital, India, 160 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vikram Gupta
    • 1
  • Rajinder K. Bhasin
    • 2
  • Amir M. Kaynia
    • 2
  • Ruchika Sharma Tandon
    • 3
  • B. Venkateshwarlu
    • 3
  1. 1.Wadia Institute of Himalayan GeologyDehra DunIndia
  2. 2.Norwegian Geotechnical InstituteOsloNorway
  3. 3.National Geotechnical FacilityDehra DunIndia

Personalised recommendations