During a landslide (also known as a landslip or mudslide), water-saturated masses of rock, earth, and debris move down a destabilized slope, having the ability to cause service disruptions, damage to property and agriculture, human injuries, and in severe cases, death. Landslides have various causes including earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, fires, and human modifications to land. Landslides develop when water rapidly accumulates on the ground, particularly during heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelts, converting the earth into a flowing river of mud. Landslides can occur quickly, often with little or no warning, and can travel several miles from their source as they grow in size by picking up various large and small debris. Areas particularly close to mountains, canyons, and/or a coastal regions, as well as those areas with a lower threshold of precipitation, may be more prone to landslides.
How do I prepare?
Local and National Government
Vulnerability to landslides depends on location, modification of land due to human activity, and the frequency at which landslides occur in the area. While all landslides are not preventable, the effects of landslides on people and structures can be lessened. By restricting, prohibiting, and/or imposing conditions on areas deemed a hazard-zone, a community could reduce the risk. For example, local governments can reduce the effects of a landslide by developing proper land-use policies and regulations. Additionally, local governments may consider obtaining professional services of an engineering geologist, a geotechnical engineer, or a civil engineer, USGS
What do I need to know?
Landslides can occur quickly, often with little notice. Therefore, the best way to prepare is to stay informed about changes in and around your home and community that could signal that a landslide is likely to occur. While some geographic locations may be more prone to landslides than others, landslides can occur anywhere with unstable ground, especially where land has been modified. Some areas more likely to experience landslides or mudflows where extra precautions and observance should occur include areas where wildfires have destroyed vegetation, areas where landslides have occurred before, steep slopes and areas at the bottoms of slopes and canyons, areas along a stream or river, and areas where water runoff is directed. [Source: CDC]
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