Landslides occur in all 50 U.S. states and territories, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coastal Ranges and some parts of Alaska and Hawaii have severe landslide problems. AP had a great story yesterday about a massive rock slide in Glacier Bay National Park earlier this summer. The event took place on June 11, 2012, but no one noticed it until a pilot happened to fly past the area a month later. According to AP’s story, some are now saying this landslide – which sent rock and ice pouring down a valley, over the top of a glacier – might be the largest ever recorded in North America.
Any area composed of very weak or fractured materials resting on a steep slope can experience landslides. Other natural disasters – such as earthquakes, volcanoes and wildfires – are often triggers, but landslides can also occur without those triggers.
If you’re interested in learning more about landslides, check out this short video from National Geographic. It’s excellent … and dramatic.
Bottom line: The June 11, 2012 landslide in Glacier Bay National Park might be the largest ever recorded in North America, according to a story by AP on July 12.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.