California landslides

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Landslides in California occur mainly due to intense rainfall but occasionally are triggered by earthquakes. Landslides are common in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and other parts of Northern California, and the Sierra Nevada. Although they most often are reported when they impact residential developments, landslides also damage roads, railroads, pipelines, electrical lines, and other infrastructure throughout the state, and occur in unoccupied parts of the state.

California Geological Survey[edit]

CGS is California's primary source of geologic and seismologic products and services for decision making by California's government agencies, its businesses and the public.[1] Since the 1960s, when it was known as the California Division of Mines and Geology, CGS has produced many maps that depict landslide features and potential slope-failure areas. CGS products have included geologic maps and reports for land-use planning, landslide hazard identification maps, watershed maps, and earthquake-triggered landslide-zone maps. Many of these maps were advisory in nature: cities and counties could choose to use or ignore them.[2] However, watershed maps are routinely used in the review of timber harvest plans outside federally owned lands.[3] CGS has a legislatively mandated Seismic Hazards Zonation Program that produces regulatory maps areas where the probability of liquefaction and earthquake-triggered landslides are significant enough to require site evaluation prior to most developments.[2]

Landslide maps in California and laws and regulations[edit]

The State of California Department of Conservation produces regulatory maps showing locations where the hazard from earthquake-triggered landslides must be evaluated prior to specific types of land-use development in accordance with provisions of Public Resources Code, Section 2690 et seq. (Seismic Hazards Mapping Act). These maps and related products incorporate evaluations of probabilistic ground shaking and existing geologic conditions. Recently released landslide inventory and related hazard zone maps are available free from the CGS website.[4] Watershed maps, used in the review of timber harvest plans (regulated by the California Department of Forestry) are available for downloading in PDF and GIS data formats.[5]

From 1983 through 1994, CGS was directed to produce Landslide Hazard Identification Maps under the State's Landslide Hazard Identification Act. Though of high quality and designed for land-use planning purposes, the Act did not require local governments to use the maps. The Act was repealed January 1, 1995 per a sunset provision in the Act.[2] Those maps, and many older non-regulatory landslide-related products are available for purchase from CGS offices and/or available for download from the CGS website.

List of historic California landslides[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Welcome to the California Geological Survey". California Geological Survey. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Theodore C.; McKamey, Bea (2000). "Summary of outreach activities for California's Seismic Hazards Mapping Program, 1996–1998". California Division of Mines and Geology Special Publication 121.
  3. ^ "Forest and Watershed Geology Program". California Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Landslides". California Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Forest and Watershed Geology Program". California Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  6. ^ Beuter, Thomas. "A brief history of the Ocean Shore Railroad". San Francisco Trains. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  7. ^ Ellen, S.D.; Wieczorek, G.F. (1988). "Landslides, floods, and marine effects of the storm of January 3–5, 1982, in the San Francisco Bay region, California" (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1434.
  8. ^ Smith, T.C.; Hart, E.W. (July 1982). "Landslides and related storm damage, January 1982, San Francisco Bay region". California Geology. 35 (7): 139–152.
  9. ^ Jones, Donna (January 6, 2012). "Devastating disaster: Storm of 1982 left 22 dead, many more homeless". Santa Cruz Sentinel.
  10. ^ Jibson, Randall W. (2005). "Landslide Hazards at La Conchita, California". U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 05-1067. Retrieved 3 March 2012.

External links[edit]