Segments in this Video

Oso Landslide (04:39)


Survivors describe a wall of mud sweeping through the Washington valley. Geological experts discuss the event's proportions.

Landslide Geomorphology (04:16)

Landslides are triggered when gravity overpowers the binding strength of slope materials; they can be deep or shallow. David Montgomery studies the Oso scarp, using LiDAR technology and carbon dating to reveal historic landslides in the region.

Landslide Rescue Efforts (03:22)

Aerial photography shows the Oso slope has slid repeatedly since 1933. The Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team scanned the mudscape with a thermal camera to look for bodies, but homes had vanished. Geologist Richard Iverson directed them to the distal end.

Surviving the Oso Landslide (03:35)

Robin Youngblood recalls being buried in mud. Crew members describe rescuing four-year-old Jacob Spillers, the sole survivor of his family.

Oso Geomorphology Mystery (03:38)

The 600 foot high slope slide for one mile; much farther than historical slides. Montgomery surveys the landslide's distal end and dons protective gear to investigate the actively eroding scarp. The slide occurred in two separate events, minutes apart.

Afghanistan Landslide (02:42)

Weeks after the Oso Landslide, a similar event occurred in Badakhshan. Rescuers were buried in a second slide. Geologist Haki Mohammad Jamshid found cracks indicating slope movement, but villages were not evacuated in time.

Landslide Country (04:36)

The Pacific Northwest’s mountain slopes and wet climate cause long runout landslides. In the Oso Landslide, groundwater filtered through sandy material to saturate glacial lake deposits that became slippery. Iverson explains the liquefaction concept responsible for Oso’s travel distance.

Simulating Landslides (04:11)

Iverson oversees geological experiments studying how much rain and soil porosity caused the Oso Landslide. Experts measure rainfall, groundwater pressure, cracks, and creep. After 90 minutes and five inches of water, the slope liquefies.

Nepal Landslides (06:35)

Nearly one third of global landslides occur in the Himalayas, where rivers, roads, terraces and monsoons weaken slopes. Geologist Ranjan Kumar Dahal educates villagers about danger signs. The government cannot afford effective prevention measures; development proceeds without regard to safety.

Hoping for a Miracle (04:02)

Marla Skaglund Jupp directed rescuers toward Amanda Skorjanc and her baby; Mike Blankenship recalls rescuing them from the Oso landslide. Dayn Brunner searched for his sister Summer buried in her car on Highway 530.

Predicting Landslides (04:43)

Swiss physicist Lorenz Meier used InSAR radar technology to predict a Preonzo landslide to within an hour, allowing evacuation and road closures. Lasers, mirrors, and crack meters measure slope movements. Monitoring systems have decreased death tolls in the region.

Oso Landslide Lessons (03:28)

Data existed to predict the disaster, but had not been analyzed or distributed. After five days, Brunner found his sister’s body; 43 people have been recovered. Hazardous slopes should be identified for planning and evacuation purposes.

Credits: Killer Landslides (00:51)

Credits: Killer Landslides

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Killer Landslides

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As scientists strive to predict deadly landslides, discover the forces behind these mighty events–from the mudslide that engulfed a Washington neighborhood to a disaster that buried 350 people in Afghanistan to the lurking threat in the Himalayas.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL129869

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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Killer Landslides

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