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Landslide is defined as the steady or sudden movement of soil or rocks down a slope. They occur and take place in all the 50 states of the United States. However, in some places, they are more concentrated and have negative effects unlike what is the case in the other places. These places whereby they have negative effects include the coastal areas of, Washington, Oregon, and California, the mountain area of Colorado Montana and Idaho, Kentucky areas, and Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. Therefore in these areas, the effects of landslides are felt and experienced in a great manner than the other area and parts. Therefore it is always a cautionary call for the residents to be prepared for anything as well as be ready to take measures that will combat or alleviate the risks involved with these landslides. Landslide hazard is defined as the dangers and the risks associated with landslides and which to a great extent affect human beings as well as the natural environment. Therefore herein this paper discusses the different types of hazards related to landslides and these include the natural and human causes of landslides. This paper also discusses the effects of landslides as well as offers recommendations for safety and protection ( Davies, 2015).
Natural causes of landslides are many and these are the ones that are the major causes of landslides even though human activity also has a limited effect on causing landslides. Climate is one of the major causes of landslides and this causes the landslides in that prolonged periods of lack of precipitation can make the water table go down below and therefore with this effect the soil is left unsaturated. In case of a sudden increase in precipitation or large amounts of water on the ground then there is a likelihood of landslides as the soil lacks a form of support in form of roots or other components of the soil. Earthquake causes landslides by causing the movement of rocks. Therefore when the rocks move it turns out that the soil on top of them moves and this causes landslides. This kind of landslide most of the time is very strong and can cause a lot of destruction in the area where it occurs. The effects of this kind of landslide are even more devastating in the sloping areas. Weathering is the natural process of rock deterioration which leads to the rock producing materials which can lead to landslides as these materials are susceptible to landslides.
More so erosion is also a causative factor towards landslides in that the rivers and the streams running down wipes the latent and lateral slope support and therefore this enables landslides to occur easily. Eruptions can as well cause landslides in case it happens in a wet environment. This, therefore, makes the soil start moving away from the place where the eruption is taking place thus forming landslides. Forest fires even though not widely considered is a causative agent as it instigates soil erosion and brings about floods thus leading to landslides. Lastly, on the natural causes of landslides, there is the force of gravity. Even though this is not seemingly important it can lead to a massive landslide especially when the slope is very stiff and the soil is wet (Shroder, 2014).
Human causes of landslides are limited however they still exist. Some of them are mining and clear-cutting. Blasting is one of the destructive human activities which have a lot of impact on the soil and especially the soil around where the mining takes place. This is because this is the soil that is susceptible and therefore when blasting happens the soil bond is weakened thus making the soil even more susceptible to landslides. Clear cutting is the practice whereby all the old trees are cut down. This practice is very harmful to the soil as it makes the mechanical root structure of the soil weak and the possibility of landslides happening very easily.
Effects of landslides are many and affect both human beings as well as natural life. One of the effects of the landslides is the causing of economic decline. This is seen when a country or an area faces landslides and the humans as well as the other types of resources which were present there have to rescue and made better because human life is more important to other things. Therefore in the process of rescuing them the economic ability of an administrative area goes down as a lot of attention and money is used on that specific target of concern (Keefer, & Larsen, 2007).
Infrastructure is also highly affected by landslides in the areas it happens. Infrastructure like bridges, roads, hotels, and others can be decimated by landslides when they happen and this is a great effect that leaves a lot of people in despair of what they are supposed to do next. Landslides can also cause the death of the members of the society who are affected by them especially physically. The aesthetic landscapes are also made to look bad by the landslides as they destroy vegetation that covers the landscapes and makes them beautiful. Rivers are in a great manner affected. This is because most of the rovers tend to get destroyed and the nature of their flow is disrupted so much because of the landslides. Therefore nature and its flow are greatly affected (Guzzetti, 2006).
Landslides also occur in different quantities leading to the different types of landslides. Falls are a type of landslide that contains sudden movements of debris, soil, or rocks. These fall out from slopes and cliffs and are majorly caused by gravity, earthquakes, and weathering. Slides happen whereby there is a separation of stable material from the material which is unstable and therefore the unstable material breaks away. Topple landslides on the other hand occur when the topple fails the forward spinning and movement of large or huge masses of rocks forms a pile of debris which can be referred to as a talus cone.
Spreads take place along gentle terrains through the process of the lateral extension which is followed by tensile fractures. Lastly, there is the flow type of landslide and this is further divided into five more. However, the commonly occurring one is the rockfalls and debris fall.
In conclusion, therefore, it is important to get information about the landslides and their effects on the lives of the people of any place but more importantly to the lives and concerns of those people who live close to landslide-prone areas, this is especially with great concern to the different areas in the US which are prone to landslides (Guzzetti, 2006).
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Guzzetti, F. (2006). Landslide hazard and risk assessment.Keefer, D. K., & Larsen, M. C. (2007). Assessing landslide hazards. Science, 1136-1138.
Landslide Hazard Information – Causes, Pictures, Definition. (2019). Geology.com. https://geology.com/usgs/landslides/
Pardeshi, S. D., Autade, S. E., & Pardeshi, S. S. (2013). Landslide hazard assessment: recent trends and techniques. SpringerPlus, 2(1), 1-11.
Shroder, J. F. (2014). Landslide hazards, risks, and disasters. Academic Press.