Friday, May 27, 2011

Re: [californiadisasters] Landslide Danger in Bay Area High

Stay on the ground so you'll be able to feel it coming if one happens.

From: Kim Noyes <>
To: CaliforniaDisasters <>
Sent: Fri, May 27, 2011 12:08:58 PM
Subject: [californiadisasters] Landslide Danger in Bay Area High


Landslide danger in Bay Area high, new map reveals

Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer

San Francisco Chronicle  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Communities in the mountainous areas of the Bay Area, including much of Marin County, are in more danger than other places in the state of being leveled by a catastrophic landslide, the California Geological Survey revealed Thursday.

The map of California's most landslide-prone areas is an attempt by the Geological Survey to determine the most vulnerable spots in the event of an epic superstorm, known as an ARk storm, which scientists warned about earlier this year.

"The goal in this was to develop a scenario for a major storm," said Chris Wills, the Geological Survey's supervising geologist. "We felt it was important to get this basic information out so people can look at what are the most susceptible areas."

The map is the most detailed analysis of landslides that has ever been compiled in California. It shows that the North Coast between Sonoma County and Oregon and the Coast Range between San Francisco and Los Angeles are the most susceptible areas in the state. About two-thirds of Marin and Sonoma counties are categorized as high-hazard areas. The Santa Cruz Mountains and the East Bay hills are also highly susceptible to landslides, according to the map.

Mendocino, Humboldt, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties also have large swaths of land that could be termed high-hazard zones.

The map analyzed the rock, soil and steepness of the terrain in the locations of 57,000 historic landslides that had been compiled in a database. The steepest areas with the most crumbly rock and loosest soil got the worst ratings, Wills said.

"The hills all the way around the bay have significant landslide potential," Wills said. "There are a number of areas in the East Bay and Marin County and down on the Peninsula where there are communities dating back to the 1920s. These are fairly high-population areas with older homes built at a time when landslides weren't recognized and considered in development."

Landslides kill from 25 to 50 people and cause more than $2 billion in damage in the United States every year. More than 100 Californians have been killed by debris flows during the past 25 years.

The last fatal landslide in California occurred in Mill Valley in 2006 when a fast-moving wall of mud buried a 76-year-old landscape architect behind his home. Ten people were killed, 14 were injured and 31 homes were destroyed by a 30-foot wall of mud in Ventura County in 2005.

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