Estimation of rainfall thresholds for landslide occurrences in Kalimpong, India

  • Abhirup DikshitEmail author
  • D. Neelima Satyam
Technical Note


The Indian Himalayan locale has been essentially influenced by the increase in the frequency of landslide events. Out of 0.42 million km2 of India’s landmass prone to landslides, 42% falls in the North East Himalaya, especially Darjeeling and Sikkim. The harm due to landslides is massive, causing loss of life, property and agricultural land, thus initiating a dire need for formulating strategies to minimize its impact. There have been many attempts to establish rainfall thresholds on global, regional and local scales which compare analysis at various levels. Rainfall thresholds anticipate landslide occurrence and help in issuing a warning to civil authorities and the general population. However, empirical relations defining the relationship between landslide occurrences and rainfall events in Kalimpong remain unattended. In this paper, rainfall thresholds for landslide occurrence have been ascertained for Kalimpong area of Darjeeling Himalayas, in the Indian province of West Bengal. A threshold for landslide occurrences which describes intensity–duration threshold was estimated using the power law equation. The relationship for the study area is I = 3.52 D−0.41 (I is rainfall intensity (mm/h) and D is duration (h)). Results show that events with a rainfall intensity of 0.95 mm/h with a duration of 24 h have a high risk of slide initiation in this region. It also demonstrates that for 10- and 20-day antecedent rainfall, an intensity of 88.37 and 133.5 mm is required for landslide occurrence in this region. Such data would help in implementing early warning systems that focus on rainfall thresholds and forecasting rainfall measurements. Rainfall thresholds for landslide initiation in Kalimpong can be enhanced with more precipitation and landslide data as and when available.


Landslides Rainfall ID threshold Antecedent rainfall Kalimpong Early warning system 


  1. 1.
    Kanungo DP, Sharma S (2014) Rainfall thresholds for prediction of shallow landslides around Chamoli–Joshimath region, Garhwal Himalayas, India. Landslides 11:629–638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wieczorek GF (1996) Landslide triggering mechanisms. In: Turner AK, Schuster RL (eds) Landslides: investigation and mitigation. Special Report, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC, pp 76–90Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Glade T, Crozier MJ, Smith P (2000) Applying probability determination to refine landslide-triggering rainfall thresholds using an empirical “Antecedent Daily Rainfall Model”. Pure Appl Geophys 157(6/8):1059–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Campbell RH (1975) Soil slips, debris flows, and rainstorms in the Santa Monica Mountains and vicinity, southern California. In: US Geological Survey Professional Paper 851. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, pp 51Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Varnes DJ (1978) Slope movement types and processes. In: Schuster RL, Krizek RJ (eds) Landslide analysis and control. Special Report 176, Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, pp 12–33Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Crozier M (1996) The climate–landslide couple: a southern hemisphere perspective. Paleoclimate Res 19(ESF Special Issue 12):329–350Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Reichenbach P, Cardinali M, De Vita P, Guzzetti F (1998) Regional hydrological thresholds for landslides and floods in the Tiber River Basin (Central Italy). Environ Geol 35(2–3):146–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Guzzetti F, Peruccacci S, Rossi M, Stark CP (2007) Rainfall thresholds for the initiation of landslides in Central and southern Europe. Meteorol Atmos Phys 98:239–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Crozier MJ (1999) Prediction of rainfall-triggered landslides: a test of the antecedent water status model. Earth Surf Process Landf 24:825–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Aleotti P (2004) A warning system for rainfall-induced shallow failures. Eng Geol 73:247–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Guzzetti F, Peruccacci S, Rossi M, Stark CP (2008) The rainfall intensity–duration control of shallow landslides and debris flows: an update. Landslides 5(1):3–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bacchini M, Zannoni A (2003) Relations between rainfall and triggering of debris-flow: case study of Cancia (Dolomites, North-eastern Italy). Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 3:71–79. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Barbero S, Rabuffetti D, Zaccagnino M (2004) Una metodologia per la definizione delle soglie pluviometriche a supporto dell’emissione dell’allertamento. In: Proceedings of 29th Convegno Nazionale di Idraulica e Costruzioni Idrauliche. Trento, Italy, pp 211–217 (in Italian) Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Giannecchini R (2005) Rainfall triggering soil slips in the southern Apuane Alps (Tuscany, Italy). Adv Geosci 2:21–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Starkel L (1972) The role of catastrophic rainfall in the shaping of the relief of the lower Himalaya (Darjeeling Hills). Geogr Pol 21:103–147Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Froehlich W, Gil E, Kasza I, Starkel L (1990) Thresholds in the transformation of slopes and river channels in the Darjeeling Himalaya, India. Mt Res Dev 10:301–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Froehlich W, Starkel L (1987) Normal and extreme monsoon rains: their role in the shaping of the Darjeeling Himalaya. Studia Geomorphologica Carpatho-Balcanica 21:129–156Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sengupta A, Gupta S, Anbarasu K (2010) Rainfall thresholds for the initiation of landslide at Lanta Khola in north Sikkim, India. Nat Hazards 52:31–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rao P (2010) Landslide hazards: the dire need for a comprehensive long term solution to the landslide problems at Chibo–Pashyor villages, Kalimpong, district Darjeeling, West Bengal, in Geo-hazards in Sub-Himalayan North Bengal, University of North Bengal, SAP Monograph-1, pp 76–82Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dikshit A, Satyam N (2017) Application of FLaIR model for early warning system in Chibo Pashyor, Kalimpong, India for rainfall-induced landslides. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci Discuss. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sumantra SB, Raghunath P (2016) Causes of landslides in Darjeeling Himalayas during June–July, 2015. J Geogr Nat Disasters 6:173. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ghoshal TB, Sarkar NK, Ghosh S, Surendranath M (2008) GIS based landslide susceptibility mapping—a study from Darjeeling–Kalimpong area, Eastern Himalaya, India. J Geol Soc India 72:763–773Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mor S (2013) Critical ecosystem modeling and analysis of Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India using geospatial techniques, Dissertation, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Chatterjee R (2010) Landslide hazard zonation mapping of Kalimpong. VDM Verlag Dr. Muller GmbH & Co. KG, SaarbrückenGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mukherjee A, Mitra AK (2001) Geotechnical study of mass movements along the Kalimpong approach road in the Eastern Himalayas. Indian J Geol 73(4):271–279Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Iverson RM (2000) Landslide triggering by rain infiltration. Water Resour Res 36(7):1897–1910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Godt JW, Baum RL, Chleborad AF (2006) Rainfall characteristics for shallow landsliding in Seattle, Washington, USA. Earth Surf Process Landf 31:97–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lumb P (1975) Slope failure in Hong Kong. Q J Eng Geol 8:31–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kim SK, Hong WP, Kim YM (1991) Prediction of rainfall-triggered landslides in Korea. In: Bell DH (ed) Landslides, 2nd edn. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 989–994Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Pasuto A, Silvano S (1998) Rainfall as a triggering factor of shallow mass movements. A case study in the Dolomites, Italy. Environ Geol 35(2–3):184–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Caine N (1980) The rainfall intensity duration control of shallow landslides and debris flows. Geogr Ann 62:23–27Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory, Earthquake Engineering Research CentreInternational Institute of Information Technology, HyderabadHyderabadIndia

Personalised recommendations