Mud Creek Update, 5/23/17


MONTEREY COUNTY – The Mud Creek (PM 8.9) area on State Route 1 sustained a major event on Saturday evening, May 20 when over a million tons of rock and dirt fell down the slope continuing down to the ocean floor 250 feet off the shoreline.

The Mud Creek area is ¼ mile in length, made up of five slides, four of which fell during this single event and consolidated into one slide. The remaining slide now extends 1,500 feet in length over State Route 1 and is about 35 to 40 feet deep.

Roadwork at Mud Creek was suspended and heavy equipment removed last week due to the threat of new slides and for safety of highway workers. Caltrans geologists and engineers plan to assess it further when this area stabilizes.

There is no estimate when this section of State Route 1, approximately nine miles north of the San Luis Obispo/Monterey County line will re-open.


10 thoughts on “Mud Creek Update, 5/23/17

  1. So, when is the state, which has been absurdly fucking around and hauling these slides away and parking them on the park behind the State Capital building or wherever going to sue Planet Earth for violating Insanistan regulations and collect all that mud out of the ocean and glue it back into place?

  2. No tunnel. Treat it as an avalanche and do what they do in Tahoe and Colorado. Use helicopter dropped dinamite, or cannons to get all the unstable soil to come down. Then it will be safe for drilling rigs and equipment drivers. There’s no reason to keep waiting and hoping for the best. “Hope” is not a plan.

  3. Michael ——— Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.

  4. I have been actually wondering myself why they dont just blast the side of the mountain, kind of like Michael is saying. I thought maybe it was a dumb question but it seems like its a better option than just standing by.

  5. Michael, Ashley, and others: Rock Knocker says that blasting or dynamiting or anything of that nature up there would be a HUGE mistake as there is no way to control or predict what would happen.

  6. Yes, Rock Knocker is right. And, some of that mountain is Forest Service property and some is private property. There are homes and full time residents on that private property. The residents have had to evacuate so that they do not risk getting buried alive. If CalTrans bombs the mountain and damages homes or takes lives, a lawsuit from the property owner and families of victims would be another thing coming at CalTrans…..

  7. Cool geology comment: If we look at the coastline (Google Earth or imagery), we will see there are dozens of old landslides along the coast going back as long as 2.5 million years. Some are particularly noticeable by the existence of a steep, rocky hill face above and a lump of relatively flat ground below. There is one of these just about a half mile north of Mud Creek slide which the highway traverses and one directly adjacent to the south which the highway cuts below. Once the ground stops moving, I suspect the plan would be to rebuild the highway over the top of or around the new lump that was just formed. Interesting to note, and what is common knowledge in Big Sur, most of us along the coast highway live on top of these remnant lumps of old slides. It’s the most stable place to be, at least for about 10,000 – 2 million years or so.

  8. Nice, Thanks Mark. I’ve been reading about the geology in Henson & Usner’s The Natural History of Big Sur. The geology here is fascinating.


  9. God made the mountains and the sea. And god said let there the mountain slide into the sea. And the mountain slid into the sea. And then God said let the sur Indians return to the land of the mountain and the sea. And the sur Indians returned to their ancestral home and raised horses. Planted corn built tee pees and are now sitting on the ledge that the white man built and will guard their sacred land forever and forever.

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