We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

International Landslide Centre

A research project of the Department of Geography.


Introduction to the International Landslide Centre

Data collected by the ILC illustrates the devastating impacts of landslides worldwide. In total, more than 500 000 people were killed by landslides in the 20th Century. The majority of those fatalities occurred in mountainous areas within less developed countries. More recently, in the first 25 weeks of 2003 alone there were nearly 2000 landslide fatalities in 139 large events, 95% of which occurred in less developed countries. A more detailed study in Nepal recorded 55 fatalities in 2000, 185 fatalities in 2001 and 345 fatalities in 2002, reflecting a rising trend in landslide impacts worldwide, a trend that is exacerbated by climate change, population pressure and increased road construction. The economic costs are harder to quantify, but certainly exceed $10 billion per year, with remote rural communities being particularly affected.

Our expertise, experience and facilities

Staff at the ILC have extensive experience in assessing and managing landslide problems. Ongoing and recent projects have been undertaken for NASA, DFID, the EU, British Embassy Nepal, the European Space Agency, and a range of private companies and independent organisations. We have worked on landslides in Europe, N America, S Asia, E Asia, SE Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East. We have extensive experience in landslide identification and mapping, including the development of the use of remote sensing and GIS techniques; landslide monitoring; vulnerability assessment; landslide hazard and risk assessment; and landslide mitigation. The centre has first class geotechnical and water chemistry laboratories, remote sensing and modelling facilities, and field equipment. The ILC is a world leader in landslide research, incorporating the activities of PhD students and Post-doctoral researchers as well as members of academic staff.

How can we help?

The ILC is supported by a range of organisations, meaning that emergency assistance in the event of landslide disasters, or rapid assessments of potentially hazardous slopes, can often be provided at no cost to the host country. Staff from the ILC are permanently on standby to provide such technical advice. We also undertake a range of longer term research, training and development activities, and would be delighted to discuss how we can be of assistance.


The International Landslide Centre was established in March 2003 to:

  1. Undertake fundamental research into landslide problems worldwide
  2. Provide direct assistance to communities affected by landslide disasters
  3. Assist in the development of capability to cope with and mitigate against landslides in less developed countries


From other departments