Monday, 23 March 2020

Landslide kills twelve in Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea.

Twelve people have died following a landslide in Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, on Saturday 21 March 2020. The incident happened at about 1.00 am local time, in the village of Tendepo Council, close to Tambul, and struck two houses in which families of five and seven were sleeping. The precise cause of the incident is unclear at this time, but March is peak Monsoon Season in Western Highlands Province, with rainfall typically exceeding 270 mm per day, and landslides and flash floods are common in the area. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. 

 The scene of a landslide that killed 12 people in Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, on Saturday 21 March 2020. Loop PNG.

Monsoons are tropical sea breezes triggered by heating of the land during the warmer part of the year (summer). Both the land and sea are warmed by the Sun, but the land has a lower ability to absorb heat, radiating it back so that the air above landmasses becomes significantly warmer than that over the sea, causing the air above the land to rise and drawing in water from over the sea; since this has also been warmed it carries a high evaporated water content, and brings with it heavy rainfall. In the tropical dry season the situation is reversed, as the air over the land cools more rapidly with the seasons, leading to warmer air over the sea, and thus breezes moving from the shore to the sea (where air is rising more rapidly) and a drying of the climate.

 Diagrammatic representation of wind and rainfall patterns in a tropical monsoon climate. Geosciences/University of Arizona.
 
See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2019/01/eruption-on-manam-moto-papua-new-guinea.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/12/eruptions-on-manam-motu-papua-new-guinea.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/02/magnitude-75-earthquake-kills-at-least.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/01/eruptio-on-kadovar-island-triggers.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/11/reassessing-aitape-skull_22.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/06/magnitude-59-earthquake-in-papua-new.html
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