Abstract

In 2015, the Mw 7.9 Gorkha earthquake struck Nepal, triggering thousands of landslides across the central and eastern Himalayas. These landslides had many adverse effects, including causing widespread damage to low-grade transport routes (e.g. tracks, footpaths) in rural regions that depend on tourism for survival. Langtang Valley is a glacial/periglacial landscape located 60 km north of Kathmandu. It is one of the most popular trekking regions in Nepal and has been severely affected by Gorkha earthquake-triggered and monsoon-triggered landsliding. Here, qualitative and quantitative observations from fieldwork and remote sensing are used to describe the materials and geomorphology of the landslides across Langtang Valley, and to quantify the extent to which coseismic and monsoon-triggered landslides have impacted upon Langtang's trekking infrastructure. The dominant bedrock materials involved within Langtang landslides are found to be a range of gneisses and intruded leucogranites. In total, 64 landslides are found to have intersected trekking paths across Langtang, with coseismic and monsoon-triggered landslides impacting ∼ 3 km and 0.8 km of path respectively. It is observed that the practice of re-constructing paths through unstable landslide deposits is leaving the trekking infrastructure across Langtang increasingly vulnerable to future failure.

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