Huge landslide on California’s Big Sur coast continues to change

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The Mud Creek landslide on California’s Big Sur coast keeps eroding.

The Mud Creek landslide on California’s Big Sur coast keeps eroding, as seen in air photos taken June 26. USGS scientists have been collecting and analyzing air photos about every two weeks, weather permitting, since the slide occurred on May 20. Maps derived from the June 26 photos show continued movement on the slide’s upper slopes and accelerating erosion at its toe. Since May 27, the 13-acre bulge of new land created by the slide has lost about 2 acres to wave erosion at its seaward edge, while material has accumulated on the beaches beside it. The latest photos also captured new roads built by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to monitor and sample the slide.

A series of images shows the height of a landslide and how it erodes over time.

Imagery shows the differences between May 27, June 13, and June 26 profiles (side views) at the toe of the landslide close to the beach. From these images, scientists can take detailed measurements of the volume of land lost.

(Credit: Jon Warrick and Andy Ritchie, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. Public domain.)

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