Effects of landslides

No one can outrun an approaching landslide or mudflow. They are so fast and powerful that they wipe out trees and rocks in their way. They cause massive destruction in many ways such as:

Loss of lives:

Landslides and mudslides kill between 25 and 50 people every year in the USA alone. Globally it is believed that the number of deaths is highly underestimated.

In total, 2,620 fatal landslides were recorded worldwide during the 2004 and 2010 period of the study, causing a total of 32,322 recorded fatalities.

Destruction of property:

In 1980, Mount St Helens in Washington USA erupted and caused a rock debris landslide believed to be the biggest in history. The landslide traveled about 14 miles, wiping away highway bridges, buildings, and roads. It is known that the amount of debris in this avalanche can fill 250 million dump trucks.

Economic costs:

Landslides bring huge costs to communities and cities, as they have to spend so much to clean up and rebuild destroyed infrastructure. In 2005 it cost the USA $3.5 billion in damage repair.

Destruction of the natural environment:

Debris flows usually uproot trees and wipe out vegetation and wildlife in its path.

Reading Sources

1. Geology (Online ISSN 1943-2682), Global patterns of loss of life from landslides, by David Petley
2. Landslide Hazards—A National Threat., USGS, Fact Sheet 2005-3156 December 2005
3. USGS Fact Sheet 2005-3156 December 2005, Landslide Hazards—A National Threat