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WikiProject Geology (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
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More common usage[edit]

I think that the disaster usage is more common...

Agree, thus I changed it back to the redirect. See also [1] - there are currently around 90 links here, and exactly one of it refers to the drink. andy 11:08, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Article needs more content[edit]

Can anyone (please) add material about historical mudslides, especially about catastrophic events involving mudslides? Thanks! --SciCorrector (talk) 14:55, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Well I'm not a regular editor but I added a link and a crappy text about an historical mudslide in Venezuela several years ago, I really hope you would be able to improve what I've done. Cheers.


Mudslides are a serious problem among those people who live in areas with many large hills and mountains. Across the world, they have caused billions of dollars in damage and taken thousands of lives. A mudslide or debris flow, is a type of fast moving landslide. They usually start on steep hillsides as shallow landslides that liquefy and accelerate to speeds that are typically about 10 miles per hour, but can exceed 35 miles per hour. The deadly mudslide that caused a massive rockslide-debris avalanche, followed a ten-day period of heavy rains & a minor earthquake. The official death toll stands at 1,126.

The torrental rains lasting two weeks before the mudslide was the main cause for the disaster. Rainfall amounting to over 80 inches in ten day loosened the soil so much that the resulting slude & rocks thundered down the slopes, virtukally disintegrating it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:50, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

"Mudslide" is incorrect terminology, "Mudflow" is correct. Please do not use "Mudslide."[edit]

Use of the term "Mudslide" is incorrect and is a mistake perpetuated by the news media when reporting on these types of disasters. "Mudslide" is an erroneous combination of the terms mudflow and landslide, which are two very different geo-technical mechanisms. Mud, in all its forms, is a liquid or viscous substance and does not "slide," rather it flows. Use of the term "mudslide" should be completely avoided. I studied geomorphology/geology in college and I will dig up some sources for this if need be. Some attention to the article from a geologist or geophysicist would be better, though. I'll try to tag it for that. Darkest tree (talk) 20:07, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Not too detailed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:42, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

"Mudslide" is certainly not a good technical term, but it is the vernacular. I wouldn't object to a change, however, as long as (1) it was proposed as a move and (2) the article was rewritten appropriately, acknowledging the vernacular "mudslide". Of course there is a continuum from landslide to mudflow. --Bejnar (talk) 09:11, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Edited Protection from Mudslides[edit]

I was doing some research on this topic and noticed that the Protection section had been very badly paraphrased from a CDC information page about landslides and mudslides - badly in the sense that it had been so badly paraphrased that it was providing incorrect information and was somewhat confusing. I re-paraphrased the section to be slightly more accurate and added a citation to the relevant CDC page. I've left the term as "mudslide" in place as that is the term used everywhere else on the page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:34, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Removed for now[edit]

However, the world's largest pre-historic mudslide including under water mudslides was an enormous submarine landslide that disintegrated 60,000 years ago produced the longest flow of sand and mud yet documented on Earth. The massive submarine flow travelled 1,500 kilometres – the distance from London to Rome – before depositing its load. Mike Rosoft (talk) 19:44, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

mudslide or landslide[edit]

See And landslide doesn't even mention "mudslide"! --Espoo (talk) 09:47, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

ANd if you are into landslide, could it be a rockslide or rockfall? These related terms get confused when we go into other language articles and Wikidata. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:39, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Term "mudslide" is generally not used in the geology and engineering communities[edit]

The term "mudslide" is generally considered a non-scientific colloquialism that is frequently used by news media, political figures, and other laypeople, despite the fact that it is not a term that is typically used or embraced by professional agencies such as FEMA, the US Geological Survey, most US state and local government geological agencies, or most privately operated professional geology or geotechnical practices in the US. Many scientists and engineers consider the term to be a misnomer because, by the strictest definition, mud as an earth material flows over a substrate with internal deformation rather than slides over a substrate as a cohesive unit. "Mudslide" is not classified by the USGS or any state-level geological agency in the US as an official type of mass wasting. The wiki page in its current embodiment is misleading and inaccurate.

I strongly suggest that the wiki page for "mudslide" be completely overhauled such that virtually all the current content is removed, with only one short paragraph describing the usage of the term (as I have in the above paragraph) with hyperlink to the wiki page titled "landslide" and additional reference to any other existing wiki pages to include titles "mudflow", "debris flow", "earthflow", "debris torrent", "hyperconcentrated slurry", "hyperconcentrated flood". (talk) 03:22, 13 June 2014 (UTC)A licensed professional geologist and landslide specialist in the State of Washington

Agree, especially given the total lack of citations throughout. A short paragraph plus the disambig you suggest seems appropriate. Though I note the debris flow page is not exactly user friendly as it is, and probably needs some attention too. DanHobley (talk) 04:46, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
As you noted on my talk page, others have had problems with the terminology in the past. Re-reading some of those comments, I agree most with Bejnar's advice above.
It looks as if you're a pretty new editor here, so you need to know that most large changes are (ideally) agreed upon by consensus through discussion. What you're proposing makes good sense; you'll probably need some help implementing it, and there are many editors to help out. Disambiguation and redirect pages have their own conventions and rules, and moving (renaming) an article is another whole process. - Gorthian (talk) 06:31, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
(Just so everyone knows: this discussion stems from a question at Talk:2014 Oso mudslide#Use of term "mudslide".)
Not "used or embraced" professionally? Ah, a quick check on Google Scholar shows something on the order of thousands of papers, suggesting that "mudslide" is not entirely out of use. And of course there is the standard classification of Hutchinson (1988). (Anyone interested should see Hungr, et. al, 2001, "A Review of the Classificaiton of Landslides of the Flow Type". See also Hungr, et. al, 2014, "The Varnes classification of landslide types, an update" [draft].)
That being said, I would also quote Hungr et. al 2001 (p230): "It is of concern that the word mudslide is presently being widely used in North-American mass media reports to describe a range of shallow, extremely rapid mass movements, which would be referred to as debris flows or debris avalanches in both Varnes' and Hutchinson's systems." Two pages further they note that the "distinction between mud flows and debris flows is perhaps not of primary importance...." They also distinguish between mud flow and earth flow, but this seems to be a subtler detail than we need to be concerned with.
As "slide" implies a certain solidity that "mud" lacks, and in accordance with the authority cited, I suggest we consider embracing "mudflow" in lieu of "mudslide", both for this article, and at 2014_Oso_mudslide. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:25, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Proposing rename to "mudflow"[edit]

This article was originally named "mudflow", but was renamed in 2009 to "mudslide" on the basis (apparently uncontested) of the latter being "more common". However, as shown in previous comments, "mudslide" is a "non-scientific colloquialism" of ambiguous meaning, "more common" mainly in the mass media. There being two strong suggestions to rename the article back to "mudflow" — that being the more meaningful and scientifically preferred term — with expressions of assent but not dissent, I propose that this article be renamed to "mudflow", with such textual changes as appropriate. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:34, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

I've been considering proposing this myself, given the several objections raised over time to the current name. However, I have two pieces of unsolicited advice:
1. Do the proposal properly, following the procedures outlined at WP:RM/CM. There are signs that the page history was damaged in that last move, and it would be good not to mess things up any further.
2. Realize that a "common name" (especially one used in the mass media) may trump everything else: "The choice of article titles should put the interests of readers before those of editors, and those of a general audience before those of specialists." As specialists, we may cringe at the use of "mudslide," but I suspect other readers may be just fine with it.
For now, I'll hold off my !vote until the request is formalized. Good luck! — Gorthian (talk) 00:52, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
  Do this properly? The procedures you recommend (at WP:RM/CM) are for controversial moves, and I am unaware this move is controversial. It basically undoes the previous move (rename), which does not appear to have even been discussed.
  I don't believe therme is any conflict of interests here. The mass media, not knowing any better, uses an imprecise term, and the "general audience" is "just fine" because they don't know any better, and they trust the media. You quoted WP:Article titles; I would quote the lead: "Article titles are based on what the subject is called in reliable sources." It is not at all a matter of the experts using some obscure, technical term that few non-experts would recognize. Both terms are "common", and I think most people wouldn't know the difference. Yet the difference is very important, as we see at Oso. (The landslide probably didn't go any further than had been expected; the disaster resulted from the extended runout, which was in the nature of a mud flow.) It better serves the readers that we use the more precise term, rather than an ambiguous term that then has to be explained.
  Please explain if you think there is some problem with "mudflow", or any aspect that would be controversial. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:21, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Unruffle your feathers, JJ, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I was thinking only that it would be good to notify a wider community of the move, especially other WP Geology and Geography members who might be interested. And to get a solid record of the (expected) consensus so that it doesn't get moved back on the whim of some passing editor in a year or two. — Gorthian (talk) 05:42, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
  Well, we did put up a notice a month ago at WT:WikiProject Geology/Tasks#Proposed changes for Mudslide. The lack of response there (and here) suggests that the interested community is not very wide. So I say be bold. If you say "yes" and no one else says no, then the motion is approved by acclamation. If in a year or two someone objects we can have a discussion.
  BTW, after looking around a bit last night I wonder if "mud flow" (analagous to "debris flow") would be more proper. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:24, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Support: mud doesn't slide - it flows. Now the question is: mudflow or mud flow? Either would be fine with me. Vsmith (talk) 01:00, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

A quick look with Google turns up several reliable sources using "mudflow": Encyclopaedia Britannica, Oxford dictionaries, PBS, not to mention Wiktionary. Not nearly as many use the two-word name. — Gorthian (talk) 07:57, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

  Google counting is so unreliable. Still, when I search on Google Scholar, with "geology" as a qualifier, "mudflow" does come out about twice as often. To control for older usage I tried limiting the search to since 2010, and since 2013, and got about the same results. I suspect this is partly the influence of Hutchinson (1988), who preferred single words, and partly the retention of older terms not in the text but in the references.
  However, the most recent recommendation (JTC-1, see Hunger 2014, above) is "mud flow" (along with "earth flow" and "debris flow", but retaining "landslide"). So do we go with past practice? Or expert recommendation? I am somewhat inclined for the latter, but want to check with someone before I commit. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:19, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't using Google's numbers, I was just looking at the first page of hits and judging their quality.
I checked about a dozen online glossaries of geology, and every one I looked at spelled it "mudflow"—one word. Some of the sites I used were:
According to these and other reliable sources, the title should be "Mudflow." — Gorthian (talk) 07:49, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Like I said before, all of that represents past practice. The authoritative professional body now recommends "mud flow" (which parallels "debris flow", "earth flow", etc.). To the extent this is a sea change the question for us is whether we want to be ante- or post- diluvian: stick with the past, or go with the future. (Not that I can't go with the other, but I want to see if your inclination one way is more or less than my inclination the other way.) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:57, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Okay, I can go with the combined form of "mudflow". Gorthian, I presume you approve of the rename, as do I and Vsmith, and as urged by two other editors previously. There being no dissents, I will proceed with this tomorrow. I also have a new lead paragraph (sourced!) which I think will be a distinct improvement. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:45, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Done. And then undone, as the the Talk page did not follow. (Because of existing Talk:Mudflow?) And then my Internet connection got all flakey and I was losing sessions, so I backed out the best I could (but likely leaving several double-redirects behind). Revised lead still in, though. At this point I'm pretty exasperated so I'm going to back off and take a rest. I'm even reconsidering whether this is really a good idea. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:09, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I put in a request at Wikipedia:Requested moves/Technical requests. You're right, the existing Talk:Mudflow page prevents the move. I'm not sure what options there are for preserving the page history, but obviously it needs to be done by an administrator. — Gorthian (talk) 23:58, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I moved the page and the talk per the request at WP:RMTR. The old talk page of Talk:Mudflow is now in Talk:Mudflow/Archive 1 though there is not much of permanent value there. EdJohnston (talk) 00:52, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you! — Gorthian (talk) 01:46, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks from me, too. (Though I was working up a good rationale for working with it as is.) The archive is curious: nothing shown, but there is a history. Can something be restored from that? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:36, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
I restored a couple of old 2007 comments, so that Talk:Mudflow/Archive 1 is not blank. See the history of that page for what used to be there. There isn't much. EdJohnston (talk) 22:55, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Stepping through the history suggests there wasn't much to start with. I think the best reason for retaining it is to show that nothing important was lost. Okay, good enough. Thanks again. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:31, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
It's also kept for legal reasons. — Gorthian (talk) 01:05, 19 July 2014 (UTC)