Landslides

Why should YOU be aware of this geohazard?

A landslide is the movement of rock or debris down a slope.

A landslide is simply the failure of materials that make up a slope. They are also known as landslips, slumps, or slope failure. Landslides can be triggered by natural causes OR human activity. The five basic types of landslide movement are topple, flow, fall, spread, and slide.

Why are landslides dangerous?

Landslides can cause property damage, injury, and even death. The force of a landslide can cause an entire town to be completely wiped out. They constitute major geological hazard because they are widespread, occur in all 50 states, and cause billions of dollars in damage annually.

So, where exactly do landslides take place?

The frightening aspect of landslides is the fact that they can take place anywhere that an elevated terrain is present. Regions such as the Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coastal Ranges have severe landslide problems due to their geological makeup. California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii have more landslides annually than other states.

How are landslides measured?

Similar to earthquakes, landslides and avalanches generate seismic waves. It is possible to use the tools of earthquake seismology to detect and locate potential landslides.

When have landslides occurred in the past?

  • On December 19th, 2015, an elderly woman in Oregon was killed by a landslide. The landslide cascaded into the woman's home, sending a wall of trees, mud, and other debris crashing into her. There had been a reported 17 inches of rain in the area within the previous month.
  • On November 10th, 2009, a slight landslide occurred near Highway 64 in Tennessee. Luckily, there was a geologist on site and everyone was safely removed from the area before the slide began.
  • On June 18th, 1972, debris travelled 270 m down slope and resulted in 67 deaths, 20 injuries, two buildings destroyed and one building severely damaged in Po Shan, Hong Kong. An exceptionally heavy rainfall had been reported for earlier in the year.

How should YOU prepare for a landslide?

  1. Be conscious of landslide risk when buying a home or property.
  2. Have a disaster supply kit readily available at all times.
  3. Avoid building homes near steep slopes.
  4. Stay alert and awake during heavy rainfall.