Thee is a fascinating article that all of us who live or work along Highway One in Big Sur might be interested in reading. I quote from the “layperson’s” version below. The scientific version can be found here.
Water triggers landslides, and knowing how landslides react to record drought or extreme rainfall can help researchers better predict their future behavior, including whether any could collapse, or fail catastrophically. The big-picture goal is to develop a statewide inventory of landslide behavior that would inform a monitoring network. While slow-moving landslides don’t necessarily pose an immediate danger to people or infrastructure, over time they can damage things like roads and buildings. And in some instances, they can suddenly collapse, which is what occurred with the Mud Creek landslide near Big Sur in 2017.https://www.phys.org
Climate Change has a definite impact on landslides in California, but what that impact is and being able to predict when landslides might happen is one purpose of this study.
Getting a better handle on why landslides react the way they do to rainfall or drought could help researchers predict future events like the Mud Creek landslide. It collapsed during a very wet year for California in which similar landslides didn’t collapse. “We’re trying to understand why this happens,” Handwerger said.https://www.phys.org
Landslides are something we who live here have become used to, along with the inevitable wildfires and debris flows. These are all part of the Mother Nature we are trying to live with in harmony. Some of us have even welcomed the slowing down of the tourist traffic we have been enduring. Winters used to be our slow time; the time the residents and mother nature had to recover from the frenetic pace of our tourist season. Now, tourists travel here pretty much year round, so that hasn’t happened in a while. Landslide come a little less frequently than winter. And while they are an inconvenience for residents and businesses, they also provide a bit of a respite. Still, it would be nice to have an advance warning system.