Alder Creek Slide Photos 3/7/10

4:00 pm – Note from Danny Millsap: “Hey Kate , there’s some mix up about the name , we are calling it the Alder Creek slide now. I have as much help as I can get, that will fit in the area, to get the job done safely and as quick as possible. The message boards north and south say road work with delays / and from 6:00pm to 7:00am it will say road closed ahead and what ever the distance the message board is from the slide . We are letting traffic through every two hrs. from 7:00am to 5:30 pm, unless mother nature decides different .
Here are some up to date photos

(See attached file: Alder 9.jpg)(See attached file: alder 99.jpg)

Danny Millsap
Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor
Willow Springs Station , Big Sur
Office (805) 927-4243”

And here are those photos:

Alder Creek Slide, by Danny Millsap

I wish I had either Danny or Rock Knocker here to tell me if that BIG boulder is the same one in the photo below, sitting up on the side of the slide zone … very well could be, it is large enough!

... all the help there is room for, by Danny Millsap

Thanks, Danny! You are THE MAN!

3:30 pm – ROAD UPDATE. Hard closure again tonight, it is just too unstable. Big Creek is cleared, thankfully, so only the one between Villa Creek and Alder Creek currently blocking the road. Cal-Trans is now calling this the Alder Creek Slide, so changed the title of this post. Will be reassessing the danger, bringing in a geologist, and making determinations Monday and Tuesday about next actions. Some up-to-the-minutes shots to post from Danny Millsap, shortly.

Here are a series of shots taken this morning by Rock Knocker. As a retired Cal-Trans worker from Willow Springs Station, trained by the legend, Don Harlan, he knows what is going on.

As with last night, I will publish immediately, but be adding new photos whenever the opportunity arises. All photos at Villa Slide, and all photos by Rock Knocker

Loading the truck

bring down the loose stuff.

This is the slip plane — where the material begins sliding down the face in the hill above, all of it looking to “come on down” – Newton’s Law, you know. That is one huge boulder in the middle of the on-going slide. Note the crack. Hopefully, this will crack open when it comes down.

Working it from a platform

Is this a fault?

Either wordpress just added a new feature, or I finally discovered it, but I like the “photo” look and caption, so will be converting to these, most of the time.

Here, at Villa Slide, note the rocks. An interesting geological formation has been revealed by the slide. You will note the almost horizontal layer of rock, butting up against an almost perpendicular layer, then into another almost horizontal layer. Does this indicate a fault line? I don’t know. But below is a closer look.

Close-up of interesting geological formation

That drain is his-tory!

That drain is supposed to redirect the water coming down, horizontally under the road. Fortunately, it is not blocked and can still perform its duties.

These last two show the water coming out of the hill at Mud Creek, about a mile north of Villa Slide.

Water from a Rock
... and the long view

That’s it for the slide today. In a few hours, I will be writing the story and uploading the photos from The Legends of Big Sur series Thursday night at TreeBones resort. Also need to check weather reports, but as of last night, it was looking as if we are in the clear until Friday. Here’s hoping that is true, although Big Sur Valley reported 1/2 inch from last night’s storm. I haven’t even had the time to get to my rain gauge yet!

4 thoughts on “Alder Creek Slide Photos 3/7/10

  1. Wow! That’s wild. And is that a hole off to the right?

    Spoke to D.M this morning and he said the road signs say that from 6:00am to 6:00pm road open …subject to delays. From 6:00pm to 6:00am road closed.

    In his opinion it is very dangerous at Villa and very active and with these photos you can understand why. He hopes he doesn’t tick off the locals by putting up a berm at night but like he said…”I would feel real bad if someone got hurt or worse yet, buried alive. I’d rather deal with an upset local than the guilt of someone getting hurt”. I have to agree with him…better safe than sorry!

    Also the Gamboa slide is clean and open as of 3:00pm yesterday. Still many large rocks that look to be heading downward at some point. That slide was a dry slide. The large boulder came down and brought lots of stuff with it.

  2. Hi Kate, my contact with geologists and hydrologists (sp-?) say that what you see as a fault, is called a “Fold”, or Folded formation,,,, what is so very rare for the experts to see, is the actual “Bended Rock” with out cracking, in it, within the strata, layer. Get a photo of one of those, and you can sell tickets to see it , or so , I am told .

  3. Hi Kate – Nice photos! What a winter! What you are seeing here is the Jurassic Franciscan “Melange”. The rocks include a mix of mantle peridotite, gabbro, ocean floor basalt, ocean floor chert, sandstone, and even some carbonate. This material was squashed and pulverized in the subduction zone that extended along the entire CA coast until ~ 25 million years ago. During the process, these formerly continuous sequences of rock were intensely fragmented, folded and metamorphosed to form the broken up melange you see here. Metamorphosis accounts for the greenish cast, which is serpentenite, derived from weathered and metamorphosed peridotite, and also produces the tremolite which forms nephrite jade. The Franciscan is notoriously unstable both because it is so fragmented, and because it largely consists of easily weathered rock. This is the primary reason that most big slides are limited to the south, where Franciscan is exposed, and not north of ~ Coast Gallery or so, which lies on granite of the Salinian Block.

  4. John McPhee wrote a wonderful book about “assembling California” — what all the layers are about, how long it took. That perpendicular/horizontal strata that you noticed is in there. Definitely worth a read!

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