The Keylong Serai rock avalanche, NW Indian Himalaya: geomorphology and palaeoseismic implications

Wishart Mitchell, Maurie McSaveney, Albert Zondervan, Kyoung Kim, Stuart Dunning, Peter Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper describes the geomorphology of rock avalanche deposits that resulted from a major mountain slope failure at Keylong Serai on the north slope of the Indian High Himalaya, an area of high altitude desert. Cosmogenic 10Be exposure ages of the widespread deposits indicate their formation 7,510 ± 110 years BP. Proxy records for this region of the Himalaya imply a similar dry climatic regime to the present day at this time, suggesting that precipitation was an unlikely trigger for this rock avalanche. An alternative mechanism associated with rock-wall stress relaxation is also unlikely, given the earlier timing of deglaciation in this area. Given the enormous volume of debris generated by this event, the most likely trigger for this mountain collapse and resultant rock avalanche is high ground acceleration during a great earthquake (M > 8). It is proposed that rock avalanches can be used to extend the limited palaeoseismic record and improve information on the recurrence interval of great earthquakes within the Himalaya arc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-254
JournalLandslides
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2007

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