What Does a Landslide Look Like?

Posted by in Foundations, Soil Issues | April 25, 2016

What is a landslide?  A landslide is a mass of soil sliding down a hillside.

Why would a mass of soil slide down a hill?  When a mass of soil on a hillside of embankment becomes unstable it slides down to fill the void below.  Remember being at the beach when you were a kid and you were digging holes in the sand?  Remember how the sand on the sides of the hole fell into the hole?  The sliding of the sand into the hole is an example of a landslide.

What does a landslide look like?  Here are a couple photos that show what it can look like:

Figure 1 Soil sliding down hillside.  Large trees help retain soil and lean over.  Smaller trees grow with a bend in the trunk.

Figure 1 Soil sliding down hillside. Large trees help retain soil and lean over. Smaller trees grow with a bend in the trunk.

In Figure 1 the soil appears to be flowing down hill like a thick oatmeal mix.

In Figure 2 a scarp (a crack) appears in the surface where the soil breaks away from the rest of the hillside.

Figure 2 Scarp (crack) in soil where sliding soil separated from more stable soil.  Floor of wood deck  was observed to be dropped prior to the deck boards being removed.

Figure 2 Scarp (crack) in soil where sliding soil separated from more stable soil. Floor of wood deck was observed to be dropped prior to the deck boards being removed.

The steeper the hillside, the less stable it is.

The wetter the soil, the less stable the hillside is.

Be careful when building on or near a hillside.

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