The Science of Mudslides

(KING) At the University of Washington’s seismology lab, where even the tiniest earthquakes are tracked and measured, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network recorded not one, but two landslides Saturday morning less than four miles east of the town of Oso.

The first slide lasted about two and one half minutes.

“And five minutes later there was a secondary failure that was a little bit smaller,” said Kate Allstadt, a seismologist and researcher at the University of Washington. The whole event, along with more chunks moving downhill lasted about an hour she said.

“It illustrates how we need to think about how those hazards actually move across the landscape, sometimes in surmising ways,” said U.W. and landslide expert Dave Montgomery.

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