Global loss of life from landslides is poorly quantified. A global data set of fatalities from nonseismically triggered landslides that resulted in loss of life between A.D. 2004 and 2010 permits for the first time proper quantification of impacts and spatial distributions. In total, 2620 fatal landslides were recorded worldwide during the 7 yr period of the study, causing a total of 32,322 recorded fatalities. These total numbers of landslides and victims are an order of magnitude greater than other data sets have indicated, but analysis of the data suggests that it may still slightly underestimate the true human costs. The majority of human losses occur in Asia, especially along the Himalayan Arc and in China. This geographical concentration dominates the annual landslide cycle, which peaks in the Northern Hemisphere summer months. Finally, numbers of fatalities per event show a fat-tailed power law distribution, with the density of landslides being moderately correlated with the population density on a national basis.
- Received 18 January 2012.
- Revision received 15 April 2012.
- Accepted 23 April 2012.
- © 2012 Geological Society of America