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Nepal Earthquake

Nepal at Risk of Mudslides and Landslides as Monsoon Season Nears

In the aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people, Nepal could be hit hard by landslides and mudslides in the coming summer monsoon season, researchers say. Looking at satellite imagery, a team led by University of Michigan geomorphologist Marin Clark identified tens of thousands of locations in the Himalayan country that are at risk for mudslides and landslides. "The majority of them, we expect, have already happened and came down all at once with the shaking on Saturday," Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "But there will still be slopes that have not yet failed but were weakened. So there will be a continued risk during aftershocks and with the recent rainfall, and again when the monsoon rains arrive this summer."

Most at risk is the area above the fault rupture, along the border of Nepal and Tibet, north of Kathmandu. That region includes many small villages and areas popular with foreign mountaineers. Information from Clark's team is being shared with the U.S Geological Survey, NASA and other groups. A 7.9-magnitude earthquake in China's Sichuan Province in 2008 caused more than 200,000 mudslides and landslides, the researchers said, which contributed to the approximately 70,000 total deaths.

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