Examples of landslide disasters

Mass wasting is one of the most costly of natural hazards, with the slow downslope creep of material causing billions of dollars in damage to properties every year in the United States. Earth movements do not kill many people in most years, but occasionally massive landslides take thousands or even hundreds of thousands of lives. Mass wasting is becoming more of a hazard in the United States as people move in great numbers from the plains into mountainous areas as population increases. This trend is expected to continue in the future, and more mass-wasting events like those described in this chapter may be expected every year. Good engineering practices and understanding of the driving forces of mass wasting will hopefully prevent many mass-wasting events, but it will be virtually impossible to stop the costly gradual downslope creep of material, especially in areas with freeze thaw cycles.

Examining the details of a few of the more significant mass-wasting events of different types, including a translational slide, a rockfall-debris avalanche, a mudflow, and whole scale collapse of an entire region is useful to help mitigate future landslide disasters. In this section lessons that can be learned from each different landslide are discussed with the aim that education can save lives in the future. The table "Significant Landslide Disasters" lists some of the more significant landslide and mass-wasting disasters with

SIGNIFICANT LANDSLIDE DISASTERS

Where

When

Trigger Process

How Many Deaths

Shaanxi Province, China

1556

m. 8 earthquake

830,000

Shaanxi Province, China

1920

earthquake

200,000

Sichuan Province, China

2008

m. 7.9 earthquake

87,587

Nevados HuascarĂ¡n, Peru

1970

m. 7.7 earthquake

70,000

Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia

1985

volcanic eruption

20,000

Tadzhik Republic

1949

m.7.5 earthquake

12,000-20,000

Honduras, Nicaragua

1998

heavy rain

10,000

Venezuela

1999

10,000

Nevados HuascarĂ¡n, Peru

1962

4,000-5,000

Vaiont, Italy

1963

heavy rain

3,000

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1966-67

heavy rain

2,700

Mount Coto, Switzerland

1618

2,430

Cauca, Colombia

1994

m. 6.4 earthquake

1,971

Serra das Araras, Brazil

1967

heavy rain

1,700

Leyte, Philippines

2006

heavy rain

1,450

Kure, Japan

1945

1,145

Shizuoka, Japan

1958

heavy rain

1,094

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1966

heavy rain

1,000

Napo, Ecuador

1987

m. 6.1 and 6.9 earthquakes

1,000

more than 1,000 deaths reported, with a bias toward events of the last 100 years.

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