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Geoscientist Online

Rockslides and Rock Avalanches of Central Asia

Strom Rockslides AsiaThe mountain ranges of Central Asia, encompassing the Pamir, Tien Shan and Dzungaria have a fascinating history including events that have shaped human civilisation from the Alexander the Great, the spread of Islam and the formation of new republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This richness of heritage extends to geology and, as is apparent from the new book by Strom and Adrakhmatov, rockslides (bedrock landslides) in particular. The book focuses on regions where previous research has primarily been published in Russian or Chinese and presents a summary of the region’s large-scale, deep-seated landslides for readers in English.

Fifteen chapters are divided into three main sections. The first provides a history of landslide studies, an overview of the study region and discussion of landslide identification and classification. The second section, and main content of the book at around 200 pages, provides a detailed description of landslide scars and deposits ordered geographically. The final section presents an analysis of the landslide database, including morphological (e.g. fall height/run-out distance, H/L; runout vs volume) and sedimentological analysis, as well as consideration of emplacement mechanisms.

The book is highly informative and the authors’ passion for the subject is clear. However, the main descriptive section is somewhat repetitive, and it is easy to become bogged down in the succession of landslide descriptions, many of which are rather similar. Landslide features are given geographical locations, morphological and geological descriptions, and are accompanied by a figure. These are normally a Google Earth 3D image. In the best cases these figures work well and show the features clearly. In other instances, lower resolution and varying colour schemes reduce clarity. Occasional use of digital elevation models breaks this pattern and is welcome, as are the photographs of features including rockslide dams, outcrops and trimlines. This main descriptive section would benefit from more regional maps showing the location of the myriad landslides described. Readers should be aware that the landslide database is only included with the online version.

These criticisms aside, the book will provide researchers and practitioners an extremely valuable resource of large, Central Asian landslides. Indeed, for those without access to Russian language literature, this reference may be the only available source for many of the features described within.

Reviewed by Matthew Owen

ROCKSLIDES AND ROCK AVALANCHES OF CENTRAL ASIA, by A. Strom & K. Abdrakhmatov, 2018. Published by: Elsevier 458 pp. (hbk.) ISBN: 9780128032046 List Price: £138.00 W: