Thursday, June 15, 2006

Landsliding vs Earthquakes

I find it funny that are not as protected as we should be against landslides. Landslides, slumps, debris flows, mudflows are just some names to describe mass movements of land on a hill, mountain or valley slope. Landslides actually cause 4 times more damage in dollars than earthquakes do, yet earthquake research is 10 times more funded. Like I said, funny. Even though earthquakes cause more damage per event, they are much less frequent than landslides. Mass movement can occur in many ways. One of the more popular ways is to increase the pore pressure in the sediment. You see, in soil, water can easily permeate through the soil in between the sand crystals. If large amounts of rain fall, that can increase the pressure of the water in the pores of the soil and make it unstable. You can think of it as a large chunk of land hydroplaning on the slope. When building a home, be careful where you build. Not too close to the top of a hill, not too close to the bottom where sliding may occur, not too close to a river or flood plain, unless you like to build houses. Take a look at the picture of La Conchita, California. It slid twice.


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