Landslide Hazards

Advances in Tools for Hazard Assessment and Early Warning

Roughly 30% of the land area in the United States (more than 1.1 million square miles) has some exposure to impact from landslides.  Although methods and data exist to estimate which areas of the country have landslides potential, data and information needed to support accurate, detailed assessment of landslide hazard are still lacking for many areas.  Outstanding challenges in landslide hazard science involve predicting locations where and when landslides will likely occur, how big and fast they will be, and how far they will travel. 

Research by the USGS Landslide Hazards Program is focused on developing and refining methods and tools for predicting the where, when, how big, how fast and how far of landslides rapidly in enough detail to be useful for planning and emergency management and risk assessment.  Examples of recent advances include new methods for predicting inundation by debris flows that grow as they travel down a channel, improved models for debris flow hazard in recently burned areas, and a new soil moisture and rainfall threshold for landslides near Seattle, Washington.

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