EGU24-12, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Understanding fatal landslides on a global scale: insights from topographic, climatic, and anthropogenic perspectives

Seckin Fidan1, Hakan Tanyas2, Abdullah Akbas3, Luigi Lombardo2, David N. Petley4, and Tolga Gorum1
Seckin Fidan et al.
  • 1Istanbul Technical University, Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Solid Earth, Istanbul, Türkiye (
  • 2Faculty of Geo‐Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands.
  • 3Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts and Science, Bursa Uludag University, Bursa, Türkiye.
  • 4University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, United Kingdom.

Landslides are a common global geohazard that lead to substantial loss of life and socio-economic damage annually. Landslides are becoming more common due to climate change and anthropogenic disturbance, threatening sustainable development in vulnerable areas. Previous studies on fatal landslides have focussed on inventory development; spatial and temporal distributions; the role of precipitation and/or seismic forcing; and human impacts. However, their climatological, topographic, and anthropogenic characterization on a global scale has been neglected. Here, we present the association of natural and anthropogenically induced landslides in the Global Fatal Landslide Database (GFLD) with topographic, climatic, and anthropogenic factors, focusing on their persistent spatial patterns. The majority of natural (69.3%) and anthropogenic (44.1%) landslides occur in mountainous areas in tropical and temperate regions, which are also characterized by the highest casualty rates per group (66.7% and 43.0%, respectively). However, they significantly differ in terms of their morphometric footprint. Fatal landslides triggered by natural variables occur mostly in the highest portions of the topographic profile, where human disturbance is minimal. As for their anthropogenic counterpart, these failures cluster at much lower altitudes, where slopes are gentler, but human intervention is greater due to a higher population density. Our results demonstrate that fatal landslides have a heterogeneous distribution on different macro landforms characterized by different topographic, climatic, and population conditions. Our observations also point towards land cover changes being a critical factor in landscape dynamics, stressing human pressure as a discriminant cause/effect term for natural vs. human-induced landslide fatalities.

How to cite: Fidan, S., Tanyas, H., Akbas, A., Lombardo, L., Petley, D. N., and Gorum, T.: Understanding fatal landslides on a global scale: insights from topographic, climatic, and anthropogenic perspectives, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-12,, 2024.

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