California Landslides: What Is the Danger of the Frequent Landslides?
California is one of the most disaster-prone states in the United States. Every year it suffers from droughts, earthquakes, flooding, and wildfires.
Brief Information about the California Landslides
Also, because of intense precipitation after a prolonged drought, landslides in California are common. Severe earthquakes can also cause landslides. All coastal areas in California have a chance of being washed out by them into the ocean, and so do all cities and villages as well as coastal infrastructure and highways.
Researchers single out Southern California as the area most prone to landslides. Landslides in Southern California occur in Los Angeles, San Diego, and other coastal cities. Northern California is no exception, with landslides occurring in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra Nevada. The public is informed of the danger of landslides in California only when they threaten the lives of citizens and their property. Landslides that occur in unpopulated parts of the state are not in the news, but they happen a lot.
In What Ways Does the State Control Landslide Occurrences?
The state created the California Geological Survey to control and monitor landslides. It is now a major source of seismological and geological research. It is the decision-making authority that oversees and informs the public, businesses, and other government agencies in California. The California Geological Survey dates back to the 1960s, and since then has continued to create many geologic maps of the state with hazardous areas depicted on them. When building new infrastructure in California, local governments use maps that depict landslides and potential areas of slope failure. Also, when issuing logging permits, businesses must first contact the California Geological Survey for the latter to give their permission.
Why Are There So Many Landslides in Coastal California?
The increasing frequency of Southern California landslides due to fires has been revealed by a new study. Scientists have found out that in the territory of Southern California landslides after forest fires, in all probability, will occur almost annually in large quantities. At the same time, particularly large events of this kind, which can seriously damage the infrastructure of America’s largest cities, should be expected once every ten years.
This triple-whammy (drought, fires plus landslides) is a regular occurrence for residents of the state due to climate change – alternating wet and dry seasons. Long periods of drought in the state alternate with periods of heavy, torrential rains that wash away some land near the ocean coast, according to scientists and hydrologists from the U.S.
Geological Survey are appealing to Californians to be prepared for this danger and asking them not to make the situation worse by burning forests, since trees make the soil stronger and hold it back from landslides. Scientists have found that wildfires make the landscape more prone to forming landslides in California during heavy rains, when excess water turns dry, burned soil into an unstable mass.
Researchers who have gathered all the information about recent droughts and fires have noticed a pattern that heavy rains that come immediately after these natural events cause severe landslides throughout southern California.
By doing computer simulations, they created a virtual map on which to see a forecast for possible events of this kind. According to the scientists’ calculations, major landslides can be expected about once every ten years. This is the frequency with which earthquakes of magnitude 6 or higher occur in California. Due to global warming, the intensity and duration
of drought will increase, which will inevitably lead to fires. The duration of downpours, on the other hand, is shortening, but their intensity is increasing.
Natural Disasters of the Last Decade: Recent Landslides in California
Landslides in California, 2010
Torrential rains, thunderstorms, hail, and even tornadoes struck the residents of the southern regions of the U.S. state of California due to the intensifying cyclone. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of natural disaster in some areas, as entire streets were flooded in some of their cities, and landslides were noted in some places. More than 200 people in the Los Angeles suburbs were evacuated. Residents of Southern California were the hardest hit by the weather.
Landslides in California, 2015
A 35-mile stretch of I-5 near Grapevine Pass is again closed due to a landslide. Another landslide in California has occurred in the area due to the previous day’s downpour. It is worth noting that in the fall of 2015, a similar event also disrupted traffic between Los Angeles and Central California, blocking an important state artery for 24 hours.
California Landslides 2017
In December 2017, California experienced severe wildfires that burned shrubs, trees, and grass that protected areas of California from landslides. Also, the landslides in California were caused by heavy rains for several days after the massive fires. Thirteen people were killed in the landslides in California in 2017, and at least 7,000 people were evacuated. The fire damaged 18,000 buildings and completely burned about a thousand houses.
Landslides California, 2018
The number of victims of landslides in the U.S. state of California has reached 20. About 70 homes were destroyed, about 500 were partially damaged, some areas had to evacuate the population. More than 2000 people were affected.
Torrential rains in southern California continued for several days, causing flooding. The area had previously suffered from fires, and the scorched earth didn’t absorb moisture fast enough, causing mudslides. Montecito, the coastal town where many famous actors’ villas are located, was the most affected.
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