Saturday, 16 February 2019

Landslide kills four in West Java.

Four people have died and another five injured following a landslide in the village of Ciapus in West Java, Indonesia, on Friday 15 February 2019. The incident happened at about 11.00 pm local time, following several hours of heavy rain in the area, undermining a house in which the nine people, all believed to be members of one family, were living. The house then collapsed gown the hillslope causing the deaths and injuries. 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 four people who died have been identified as Nurhayati, 60, Imelda Yanti, 13, Dea Aprilia, 8 and Wildan, 3, while those injured were Saepuloh, 35, Santi Fitri Dewi, 27, Haryanti, 33, Dani, 35, and Septi, nine months. Several nearby properties have been evacuated as a precaution.

Residents of properties in Ciapus, West Java, evacuating their homes following a landslide on 15 February 2019. AFP.

Landslides are a common problem in Java, particularly during the Northeast Monsoon, which lasts from November to February, with peak rainfall in January and February, and can result in an annual rainfall of around of 4000 mm in parts of Central Java. This problem has been made worse as expanding populations has led to people farming higher on hillslopes, in an area where soils tend to be volcanic in action and poorly consolidated (i.e. lack much cohesion), making them more prone to landslides.

 The approximate location of the 15 February 2019 Ciapus landslide. Google Maps.

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.

Java has two distinct Monsoon Seasons, with a Northeast Monsoon driven by winds from  the South China Sea that lasts from November to February and a Southwest Monsoon driven by winds from the southern Indian Ocean from March to October. Such a double Monsoon Season is common close to the equator, where the Sun is highest overhead around the equinoxes and lowest on the horizons around the solstices, making the solstices the coolest part of the year and the equinoxes the hottest. 

The winds that drive the Northeast and Southwest Monsoons in Southeast Asia. Mynewshub.

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2019/01/fifteen-dead-and-twenty-missing-in-west.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2018/02/flooding-and-landslides-kill-at-least.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/12/magnitude-65-earthquake-beneath-west.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/10/landslide-kills-four-in-west-java.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/11/landslide-believed-to-have-killed-one.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/05/landslide-triggers-explosion-at.html
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