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What can I do to be prepared for a landslide?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Brian Campbell. Today's question is …

What can I do to be prepared for a landslide?

During the drier periods between storms, watch for fresh cracks or fissures on hillsides, tilting of trees or utility poles, or other signs of recent earth movement.  Watch for changes in the patterns of storm-water drainage on nearby hillslopes and streams; obstructed drainage may increase the potential for landslides.  Monitor local National Weather Service Flash-Flood announcements, which will contain more detailed information on specific times and places of concern for debris-flow activity.  Stay awake and alert because many debris-flow fatalities occur when people are sleeping.  Listen for unusual sounds such as rushing water, cracking trees, or rolling boulders.  Be prepared to move quickly.  Be especially alert when driving because road cuts and embankments are often susceptible to debris flows and rock falls.  Watch for fallen trees and power lines.

And now you know.  Join us again every week for a new CoreFact.  For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to  If you’d like to have a question featured on our show, give us an e-mail at or a phone call at 703-648-5600.  Remember, long distance fees do apply.  CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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Title: What can I do to be prepared for a landslide?


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Date Recorded: 7/29/2009

Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.

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Tags: 2009 Jul hazards landslides safety



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