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Map and description of the active part of the Slumgullion Landslide, Hinsdale County, Colorado

January 1, 1999

This text accompanies a map of many of the features on the active part of the Slumgullion landslide, Hinsdale County, Colo. Long-term movement creates and destroys a variety of structural features on the surface of the landslide including faults, fractures, and folds, as well as basins and ridges. The Slumgullion landslide consists of a large volume of inactive landslide deposits and a much smaller volume that is actively moving within the deposits of the older landslide. Previously, collapse of the south side of the scarp on Mesa Seco produced materials that blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River and created Lake San Cristobal. The current landslide activity was triggered by a collapse, which apparently extended the preexisting headscarp toward the north. The loading induced by the deposition of the collapsed materials reactivated some of the older landslide deposits. Displacement rates in the active part of the landslide range from about 0.2 m/yr at the uppermost fractures to a maximum of 7.4 m/yr in the narrowest part of the landslide. From this maximum rate, displacement rate declines to 2 or less m/yr at the toe. The interplay between different displacement rates, varying width, and curving boundaries gives rise to the structures within the landslide. For purposes of description, the landslide has been divided into seven zones: head, zone of stretching, the hopper and neck, zone of pull-apart basins, pond deposits and emergent toe, zone of shortening and spreading, and active toe. Each zone has its characteristic kinematic expression that provides information on the internal deformation of the landslide. In general, the upper part of the landslide is characterized by features such as normal faults and tension cracks associated with stretching. The lowermost part of the landslide is characterized by thrust faults and other features associated with shortening. In between, features are a result of widening, bending, or narrowing of the landslide. Also, in places where the slope of the landslide is locally steeper than average, small landslides form on the surface of the larger landslide. On the basis of qualitative observations of changes in the morphology and displacement, we speculate that the landslide is unlikely to accelerate and is more likely to stop movement over a time scale of decades. This speculation is based on the observation that driving forces are gradually diminishing and resisting forces are increasing. Rejuvenation or reactivation probably requires collapse of a new block in the head of the landslide.

Publication Year 1999
Title Map and description of the active part of the Slumgullion Landslide, Hinsdale County, Colorado
DOI 10.3133/i2672
Authors R. W. Fleming, Rex L. Baum, Marco Giardino
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title IMAP
Series Number 2672
Index ID i2672
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse