Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NY Survey deals with largest landslide in state history

A landslide taking place since May, 2011 is now considered to be the largest recorded landslide in New York State [right, progression of landslide, May 10-31, 2011]. Over 82 acres of earth are moving, albeit slowly, but steadily. Unlike the movie version of landslides in which rocks and boulders and fast-moving earth quickly destroy everything in its path, most true landslides are slow-moving. Early measurements taken the U.S. Geological Survey indicate the hillside moving downward at the rate of about 1 millimeter an hour along a mile-long fault. This is considerable when you take into account that the foundation of several homes located along the site are being moved as well.

However, in recent weeks, some parts of the slide have actually accelerated. Over a three-day period in June, a shift of 150 feet downhill was recorded. Dry weather should help slow the slide as water is removed from the soil, but rain and snow from upcoming seasons can continue to destabilized the area.

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[reprinted from the NY State Geological Survey website]

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