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Landslides and Landslide Research, and Geomorphology

  1. Oct 8, 2016 #1


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    An important matter for folks like in hilly or mountainous areas. Around the world, and in every state in the US, landslides occur wherever there is elevated terrain. Thousands are killed every year. One year, in 7 months, 222 landslides around the world resulted in nearly 1500 deaths. Property losses are in the $billions annually.

    I remember the Oso landslide, which is a main topic of the video.

    Researchers use LIDAR to survey the terrain to identify areas of risk. Too bad it wasn't done before the Oso slide, since there were indications of previous events over many centuries and millennia.

    Another tool is InSAR - Interferometric synthetic aperture radar
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2016 #2
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4693. This one example of an InSAR application in California. LIDAR has become perhaps the most important tool in evaluating slope stability in California, as well as Washington. As was demonstrated in Washington, LIDAR can see through vegetation to identify geologic features. This method of IDing features in the vegetation-covered slopes in central and northern California has changed the way scientists evaluate land for development. Unfortunately, planners and developers don't read or listen. A few years ago a former classmate who had become an exec in a Silicon Valley company wanted to buy some acreage on a mountain top and build a huge (like around 10,000 sq. ft) home on it. My friend asked me to evaluate the land, which I did, cautioning him that I was not registered as an engineering geologist. What I did was show him the USGS map of the area, which showed a good part of the land was in the red/hazard zone. He backed out of the sale, the real estate agent threatened to sue me. It was shown that I did not advise my friend, but merely showed him maps in the public domain. The point of the story is that the best LIDAR and science is only part of the story. Developers will still try to make a buck.
    An aside to this is that in California, the public bears a larger portion of the responsibility for their real estate purchases. When I went to school, if you graduated from Stanford, Cal, USC, UCLA or Caltech you were advised that what you say in passing can come back at you. This being much the same as with doctors or attorneys. Since then, that burden has been shifted to the public and if they do not have a registered geologist or engineering geologist evaluate the property, it's much harder to collect damages if something goes awry.
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