Landslides in the Ethiopian highlands and the Rift margins

Bekele Abebe, Francesco Dramis, Giandomenico Fubelli, Mohammed Umer, Asfawossen Asrat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Landslide hazard is one of the crucial environmental constraints for the development of Ethiopia, representing a limiting factor for urbanization and infrastructures. The high relief and the rugged topography induced by a strong Plio-Quaternary uplift, the occurrence of clayey horizons within the sedimentary sequences, the dense network of tectonic fractures and faults, the thick eluvial mantles on volcanic outcrops, and the thick colluvial-alluvial deposits at the foot of steep slopes are the predisposing factors for a large variety of mass movements. Heavy summer rainfall is the main triggering factor of most landslides, some of which undergo a step-like evolution with long-lasting quiescence intervals. First generation movements are commonly restricted to shallow phenomena, such as soil slips or mud flows in eluvial-colluvial material. Fast moving slope failures, such as rock slides, topplings and falls, are also triggered by earthquakes. To mitigate the landslide risk, any first priority measure should include adequate drainage of slopes in order to reduce water infiltration. On the other hand, appropriate site selection for buildings, transferring risky settlements, accurate geological control of works, and education campaigns are all strongly recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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