Connection found between 2019 Iranian landslide and construction of dam, say scientists

In recent years, there has been a surge in dam construction to meet the growing demand for water or to generate power. However, concerns have been raised about the potential impact of these dams on the environment. A new study has shed light on the link between dam construction and increased landslide activity.

One such incident occurred in March 2019 when a landslide devastated Hoseynabad-e Kalpush village in north-central Iran, causing damage to 300 houses and cutting off access to the nearby dam. Local authorities initially attributed the landslide to heavy rainfall and denied any connection to the dam. However, scientists from the German Research Centre for Geosciences found evidence that contradicts this claim.

The study analyzed satellite data from the region and found that the stable slope where the landslide occurred began to show movement after the reservoir behind the dam started filling with water in 2013. Over time, as more water was added, it raised the local water table, making it easier for soil on nearby slopes to move. This led to an ancient landslide being activated. The findings were published in Engineering Geology and serve as a warning to engineers not to overlook potential risks associated with reservoir filling and its impact on nearby slopes. By understanding these risks and taking action to mitigate them, we can better protect communities and infrastructure from devastating consequences triggered by landslides caused by dam construction.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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