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Geological hazards in Vilnius and Kaunas – a special map

2015-02-02

The map of geological hazards in Vilnius and Kaunas, two largest cities in our country, is included into the European Urban Atlas, including a geo-hazard attribute. This Atlas, which has been recently developed by the European Space Agency, consists of ground stability maps of 52 European cities.

A total of 27 national geological surveys, including the Lithuanian Geological Survey under the Ministry of Environment (LGS), participated in the preparation of these maps. Natural and technogenic (caused by human activities) processes determining undesirable geological phenomena, such as earthquakes, landslides, ground deformations (cracking, subsistence and swelling), solution (cave) in rocks, quicksand running and other ground stability hazards.

As it can be seen from the ground stability map, the major geological hazards of Vilnius include landslides, ground subsistence caused by ground water extraction, and technogenic soil layers and aggregates. Such hazards are mainly caused by landslides on the high and steep slopes of the Neris and Vilnia rivers in Vilnius and of the Neris and Nemunas rivers in Kaunas during downpours and snow melting. The territory of Kaunas city is quite stable, except for two spots, the ground surface elevates close to Karmėlava and to the north from Garliava.

Geological hazard maps for urban areas were created using special spatial image processing technologies. These maps with descriptions are available on the website at http://www.pangeoproject.eu. All information about geological hazards in the cities of EU Member States is provided free of charge.

According to Jonas Satkūnas, Director of the LGS, the risk of geological hazards grows along with the expansion of cities and exploitation of mineral resources. In EU Member States, hundreds of people are killed in disasters caused by such hazards every year, and losses are estimated at billions euro. Therefore, information about geological hazards is of vital importance. First of all, it is helpful for local government authorities.

Public Information Division
2 February 2015

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas