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Landslide Hazards


Landslides constitute a major geologic hazard because they are widespread, occur in all 50 states and U.S. territories, and cause $1-2 billion in damages and more than 25 fatalities on average each year. Expansion of urban and recreational developments into hillside areas leads to more people that are threatened by landslides each year.

map of part of Hawaii with colors indicating debris-flow hazards

The Landslide Hazards Program (LHP) supports the USGS mission to serve the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters.

Rick LaHusen of the U.S. Geological Survey, shown with one of the “spider” units he developed for use on active volcanoes.

Research on landslide hazards addresses fundamental questions of where and when landslides are likely to occur; the size, speed, and effects of landslides; and how to avoid or mitigate those effects. Our long-term goals for this would be met by fulfilling the mission of the LHP - to provide information that leads to the reduction of losses from landslides and increase public safety.

Set up of solar powered monitoring station in the Nantahala National Forest by employees on a hillside

The LHP works closely with states, other bureaus within the Department of the Interior, and other Federal and State agencies to reduce landslide losses.