Big Sur Landslides


The dynamic coastal landscape of California’s Big Sur, about 140 mi south of San Francisco, is a setting where science disciplines in tectonics, landslides, coastal change, ecosystems, wildfire, and hydrology come together. USGS brings expertise from multiple Programs at the USGS to improve understanding as we fulfill the mission for reducing risk from natural hazards for the Nation.


March 26, 2021

The Monitor newsletter - Vol. 2 | Issue Spring 2021

In this issue: When will Mauna Loa next Erupt?, ShakeOut rollout to the Pacific Northwest, Big Sur Landslides, new storymaps for earthquakes and wildfire science, expanding coverage of the "Total Water Level and Coastal Change Forecast" tools, New Reducing Risk 2021 projects, and more.

Date published: March 24, 2021

Bringing USGS Science Expertise Together for Natural Hazards in Big Sur, CA

Recent landslide activity along California’s Pacific coast in the region known as Big Sur has provided graphic examples of the power and impacts of natural hazard events.


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Year Published: 2020

Controls on sediment distribution in the coastal zone of the central California transform continental margin, USA

We use >10,000 km of high-resolution seismic-reflection data together with multibeam bathymetry to document complex and highly variable post-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) sediment distribution and thickness in the coastal zone (~10 m isobath to 5.6 km offshore) along a ~800 km section of central California's transform...

Johnson, Samuel Y.; Beeson, Jeffrey W.; Watt, Janet; Sliter, Ray; Papesh, Antoinette

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Year Published: 2019

Offshore shallow structure and sediment distribution, Point Sur to Point Arguello, central California

This publication consists of three map sheets that display shallow geologic structure, along with sediment distribution and thickness, for an about 225-km-long offshore section of the central California coast between Point Sur and Point Arguello. Each map sheet includes three maps, at scales of either 1:150,000 or 1:200,000, as well as a set of...

Johnson, Samuel Y.; Hartwell, Stephen R.; Watt, Janet T.; Beeson, Jeffrey W.; Dartnell, Peter
Johnson, S.Y., Hartwell, S.R., Watt, J.T., Beeson, J.W., and Dartnell, P., 2019, Offshore shallow structure and sediment distribution, Point Sur to Point Arguello, central California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1158, 3 sheets, scales 1:150,000 and 1:200,000,

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Year Published: 2019

Characterizing the catastrophic 2017 Mud Creek Landslide, California, using repeat Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry

Along the rugged coast of Big Sur, California, the Mud Creek landslide failed catastrophically on May 20, 2017 and destroyed over 400 m of scenic California State Highway 1. We collected structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry data using airborne platforms that, when combined with existing airborne lidar data, revealed that the area exhibited...

Warrick, Jonathan; Ritchie, Andrew C.; Reid, Mark E.; Schmidt, Kevin; Logan, Joshua B.