A massive landslide, encompassing an estimated 1 million cubic meters (1.3 million cubic yards) of earth, struck the Karl-Marx village in Jalpak-Tash rural municipality, Uzgen, Kyrgyzstan on the night of March 22, 2023.
Dr. Dave Petley, a renowned landslide expert and author of The Landslide Blog, analyzed the head scarp area of the Jalpak-Tash landslide.
He observed a deep-seated landslide source with a possible minor rotational component in the failure. Dr. Petley described the main part of the landslide track as an earthflow, adding that the video footage available seemed to indicate that the landslide was still creeping at the time of the failure.
The exact location of the landslide is yet to be confirmed. However, preliminary research suggests that it might be in close proximity to Kurbu-Tash. Notably, the area experienced a large landslide in 2017, which bore similarities to the recent March 22, 2023 event.
An emergency situation has been declared for the village, with the residents of 18 houses having been evacuated, but the risk is considered to be low. The rate of movement has been recorded at about 3 m (9.8 feet) per hour.
While the trigger for the landslide remains unknown, it is worth noting that this time of year marks the snowmelt season in this region of Kyrgyzstan. The 2017 landslide also took place in the spring, further supporting the theory that melting snow could be a contributing factor.
1 A remarkable landslide at Karl Marx village, in Jalpak-Tash, Kyrgyzstan – The Landslide Blog – March 24, 2023
Featured image credit: AKI Press
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