Friday, October 6, 2017

Learning at a New Landslide

Our purpose was to assess a steep shoreline bluff slope along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Getting to the base of the slope meant taking a mile walk along the shore from an access point. This particular shoreline bluff is and has been a challenge to assess. The overall driver of landslides is erosion at the base of the slope. However, the shore bluff failures along this reach vary a lot due to the variability of the geologic units along the shoreline bluff. This shore reach is sort of a landslide lab. For my work, visiting and exploring a new landslide is a great way to learn and sometimes be humbled. 

On the way to the site for our work we encountered a fairly large new slide, and hence, an opportunity to learn.

I had walked this shore last October, and this slide post dates that visit.

We ended up spending a much longer time on this venture than originally planned. One part was to to try to figure out the mechanics and scale of the failure. What units failed? What was the mode of the failure? We spent time making observations, coming up with theories and explanations. The slide also provided an opportunity to observe up close some the geologic units on the bluff. While looking at this slide was not directly associated with the site we were to visit later, it helped inform our assessment and in the future will help inform our interpretations of other bluffs with similar conditions.

Yesterday I gave a short talk to a realtor group as part of a panel with the goal of helping realtors and their clients doing their due diligence for raw land. I noted that part of my work is driven by the desire for view property and that landslides do provide great views.

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