General Studies Paper 1 (Geography of India & World)
Question:- Bring out the causes for more frequent landslides in the Himalayas than in Western Ghats. Answer in 150 words (10 marks)
Jun 16, 2022


Introduction: Define landslides or give an overview of landslides.

Body Paragraph ideas:
1. Draw a table.
2. Write separate pointers for both
a) Reasons for more landslides in Himalayas
b) Reasons for lesser landslides in Western Ghats
3. Use the paragraph format combined for both parts.

Conclusion: Write a way forward for tackling landslides.



Landslides are physical mass movement of soil, rocks and debris down the mountain slope because of heavy rainfall, earthquake, gravity etc.


LINKAGE POINT -The causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats can be discussed as follows:

Reasons for more frequent landslides in Himalayas:
1. Himalayas are young tertiary mountains formed of sedimentary rocks and hence, are prone to erosion.
2. Diurnal changes of temperature are much more in northern India than south of Vindhya. This weakens the rocks and aids mass wasting. The Himalayas have great height and steep slopes. The numerous streams and rivers like the Ganges, the Indus, the Brahmaputra etc. aid the occurrence of frequent landslides. The running water causes a large scale erosion of mountainous region.
3. Northward drift of the Indian plate causes frequent earthquakes and resultant instability in the region.
4. Heavy snow fall occurs in winters which further melts in summers hence causing large flow of debris and landslides.
5. Man-made activities like deforestation for timber industry, grazing, shifting cultivation, and development of dams increase the chances of land slides. Unplanned growth of houses in the hill areas. E.g. heavy load of residential and hotel structures in Nainital, Uttarakhand are a leading cause.

Reasons for less frequent landslides in Western Ghats
1. Western Ghats are older-block mountains. Their major part is composed of basalt rocks which shows great resistance to erosion and denudation.
2. Western Ghats are eroded and denuded. While steep slope on western side with high rainfall creates ideal conditions for landslides but the gentle eastern slope with low rainfall and rivers in mature stage, counters this condition.
3. Western Ghats have small and swift flowing streams. On the Eastern side, there are big rivers like, Godavari, Kaveri and Krishna but since they are already in mature stage, they cannot carry large amount of debris.
4. Western Ghats are located on stable part of Indian plate – Deccan plateau. Hence, moving of Indian plate does not affect Western Ghats and there are lesser earthquakes.
5. The human interference is lesser in Western Ghats as compared to the Himalayas.

A formal conclusion is not needed here since the word limit is very low.
However, you can conclude by giving a way forward for tackling landslides, or by mentioning about schemes of government for the protection of these biodiversity hotspots – e.g.. National Mission for
Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem under NAPCC.
 Otherwise, just write 1-2 lines talking about the importance of both of
 ADDITIONAL POINT – SDG target 6.6 aims to, “protect and restore
water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.” Target 15.1 aims to, “ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular