Instead of bringing joy and respite to the dusty mountains, the advent of monsoon has left the anxious locals in Uttarakhand praying for their safety and evasion of any calamity that might hit the state. The seemingly sturdy mountains have given way to landslides several times.
The nature of mountains in Uttarakhand has fuelled fear among the people. The Himalayas are young fold mountains, constantly growing which brings in an element of uncertainty.
Geologist at HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar professor MPS Bisht who has conducted detailed studies in the region says that the fears of the locals are not unfounded. “We may rue about deforestation, rising concretisation, but there are many other factors beyond this,” he said.
“The last glacial maxim occurred around 18,000 to 20,000 years ago. After this, ice melted and sediments collected in the form of mud and debris. Lose material has sedimented in the past and collected on mountain slopes. For a certain time period, vegetation grew on this and forests and villages flourished,” said professor Bisht, explaining the present day mountains of the state.
During the course of several centuries, hill folk of Uttarakhand used these slopes for agriculture which were loose and unconsolidated. Bisht added that the slopes which appear sturdy will infact remain unstable till it comes back to its original slant.
The debris will keep shifting till this is achieved. This situation is aggravated during rains which wash away the top soil and percolate the ground.