Poplar Cove, Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina

Science Center Objects

Recent Conditions

The instruments were installed in the summer of 2014 and are used to monitor and detect changes in local conditions, including

Data are transmitted daily and displayed on graphs.

Project Background

Landslides in western North Carolina impact people and the environment and are commonly induced by intense or prolonged rainfall associated with strong storms. For example, in September of 2004 heavy rainfall from two hurricanes, Frances and Ivan, induced thousands of landslides over a large part of western North Carolina.

The USGS and its cooperators have installed instruments in a steep hillside about 17.5 km southwest of Franklin, NC in the Nantahala National Forest. Data collection at this site supports research on hydrologic factors that control landslide initiation. In many landslide-prone hillsides, infiltration of water from rainfall or snowmelt increases ground-water pressures. These elevated pressures can, in turn, induce landslide movement.


A round white monitoring device set on a hillside in Nantahala National Forest

Rain gage at the monitoring site. (Credit: York Lewis. Public domain.)

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

Poplar Cove monitoring site photo was taken at the time of installation to demonstrate slope angle. (Credit: York Lewis. Public domain.)