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Oso Disaster Had Its Roots In Earlier Landslides

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the learning-lessons dept.

Earth 64

vinces99 writes: The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the "remobilization" of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes. The research indicates the landslide, the deadliest in U.S. history, happened in two major stages. The first stage remobilized the 2006 slide, including part of an adjacent forested slope from an ancient slide, and was made up largely or entirely of deposits from previous landslides. The first stage ultimately moved more than six-tenths of a mile across the north fork of the Stillaguamish River and caused nearly all the destruction in the Steelhead Haven neighborhood. The second stage started several minutes later and consisted of ancient landslide and glacial deposits. That material moved into the space vacated by the first stage and moved rapidly until it reached the trailing edge of the first stage, the study found. "Perhaps the most striking finding is that, while the Oso landslide was a rare geologic occurrence, it was not extraordinary," said Joseph Wartman, a University of Washington associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a team leader for the study.

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OSO (1, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 2 months ago | (#47513463)

It's a bear. What comes around, goes around.

Watching the hourglass (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 months ago | (#47513899)

When I was little toddler I was fascinated by an hourglass --- particularly on the almost hidden but still perceivable pattern of a new slide happened on the back of an ancient slide

Many things that we observe, even from something as tiny as the sandslides inside an hourglass, can be magnified many folds, and still hold true

Re:Watching the hourglass (2)

demachina (71715) | about 2 months ago | (#47516383)

Sand slides in an hour glass are instances of "Self Organizing Criticality" [wikipedia.org]

There is a book [surrey.ac.uk]

Re:OSO (4, Interesting)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 2 months ago | (#47516759)

The real problem was that libertarians fought hard and demanded the right to die in a landslide, and then they won that right. Famously kooky Richard A. Epstein and his political brethren demanded that big government bureaucrats stay out of his business when they tried to tell him that he lived underneath an inevitable landslide. He went to political meetings and courtrooms angrily demanding his right to live and die however he wanted. He got his way. I personally have zero sympathy for them. They were asshats who wouldn't accept good advice when it was given to them. They deserve to become lessons to the rest of us.

I also reject the suggest that his hard-fought freedom made his life better. No, it didn't He could have lived equally well a quarter mile down the road where the rest of us wouldn't have to pay a bunch of money and do a bunch of work dealing with the disaster that befell him. It could have been a landslide onto an unoccupied hillside, but no, because of that jackass and his jackass friends we all have to deal with it as a human tragedy.

Screw them. They don't like it when we tell them not to live under disaster-prone hillsides? Well I don't like it when I have to clean up his postmortem mess. Preventing this mess is why we tried so many times to tell him not to live there in the first place.

eh? (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 months ago | (#47513559)

To summarize the summary: "The most striking finding is that...it was not extraordinary."

Not to belittle the loss of those involved but it's always a bit much that 43 dead in the US = catastrophe. If this had happened in Asia or Africa it wouldn't make the news unless hundreds or thousands had been killed.

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47513581)

bashing 'murica again....... do they pay you for this shit?

Re:eh? (1)

GNious (953874) | about 2 months ago | (#47513739)

He/she/it is clearly bashing the selectiveness of the News Outlets, not The Country.

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514279)

I think that were hard taxed murican dollars that make world look in awe and shit in the pants every time a marine core unit lands somewhere or a drone kills a family (sometimes near intended target). Telling everybody to shut up and cooperate with NSA does help too of course. Surely there are justified uses of the military muscle but these are lost in the overwhelming business friendly fire.

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514783)

Perpetual war is destroying the Republic.

Re-elect no one. Ever.

Re:eh? (2)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 2 months ago | (#47513869)

I reckon 43 being killed in a short period of time by a single natural occurrence would make someone's local news. It's just that their local news wouldn't make Slashdot. I also think - not to belittle the ability of those Asians or Africans you mention to keep their people from dying - that when more than twenty people dying in a short period of time from the same cause happens fewer than twenty times a year in their country, then those happenings will be highlighted as catastrophes in their national news media also.

Re:eh? (1)

camg188 (932324) | about 2 months ago | (#47514107)

I wonder how much news coverage that landslide got in Asia or Africa? If it happens somewhere else it's bad, if it happens in your backyard it's a catastrophe.

Re:eh? (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 months ago | (#47522029)

I wonder how much news coverage that landslide got in Asia or Africa? If it happens somewhere else it's bad, if it happens in your backyard it's a catastrophe.

Another way to say that is that Americans tend to only care what happens in the US, for the most part, thus increasing the relative importance of what happens in the US versus what happens elsewhere in the world.

Re:eh? (2)

paiute (550198) | about 2 months ago | (#47514169)

To summarize the summary: "The most striking finding is that...it was not extraordinary."

Not to belittle the loss of those involved but it's always a bit much that 43 dead in the US = catastrophe. If this had happened in Asia or Africa it wouldn't make the news unless hundreds or thousands had been killed.

You are assuming that the Oso slide made the Asian and African news outlets.

Re:eh? (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 months ago | (#47521989)

To summarize the summary: "The most striking finding is that...it was not extraordinary."

Not to belittle the loss of those involved but it's always a bit much that 43 dead in the US = catastrophe. If this had happened in Asia or Africa it wouldn't make the news unless hundreds or thousands had been killed.

You are assuming that the Oso slide made the Asian and African news outlets.

No I am not and I don't see how you arrived at your conclusion -

Re:eh? (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 months ago | (#47522017)

Ignore my previous post - I see you were answering someone else

Re:eh? (3, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 2 months ago | (#47514415)

To summarize the summary: "The most striking finding is that...it was not extraordinary."

Not to belittle the loss of those involved but it's always a bit much that 43 dead in the US = catastrophe. If this had happened in Asia or Africa it wouldn't make the news unless hundreds or thousands had been killed.

Who cares what it's called? No one I know of is trying to compare this to the horrific losses in Japan after the tsunami, or other major disasters around the world. It was a big deal to us here in WA state (and I heard the terms "disaster" and "tragedy" used more often anyhow). An entire square mile of mud 10 to 40 feet thick wiped entire families and/or all their property from the face of the earth in an instance. Whatever you want to call it, it was pretty awful for everyone involved - including the rescuers.

If my next-door neighbor gets robbed or had their house burned down, that would be a big deal to our local little neighborhood. Someone in the next town over might sympathize, if they heard about it at all. It wouldn't get reported on the other side of the country. That's just the reality of life, and it's nothing to wring our hands over.

Re:eh? (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 2 months ago | (#47516621)

Well said.

-Joe from Tulalip

Re:eh? (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 months ago | (#47522013)

To summarize the summary: "The most striking finding is that...it was not extraordinary."

Not to belittle the loss of those involved but it's always a bit much that 43 dead in the US = catastrophe. If this had happened in Asia or Africa it wouldn't make the news unless hundreds or thousands had been killed.

Who cares what it's called? No one I know of is trying to compare this to the horrific losses in Japan after the tsunami, or other major disasters around the world. It was a big deal to us here in WA state (and I heard the terms "disaster" and "tragedy" used more often anyhow). An entire square mile of mud 10 to 40 feet thick wiped entire families and/or all their property from the face of the earth in an instance. Whatever you want to call it, it was pretty awful for everyone involved - including the rescuers.

If my next-door neighbor gets robbed or had their house burned down, that would be a big deal to our local little neighborhood. Someone in the next town over might sympathize, if they heard about it at all. It wouldn't get reported on the other side of the country. That's just the reality of life, and it's nothing to wring our hands over.

I'm in France and I'm reading about it on slashdot so it has actually made the news more or less globally.

It has nothing to do with sympathizing. I sympathize with the family of those involved.

The point that I was trying to make is that if the same thing happened outside the US then it almost certainly wouldn't make the news in the US at all, never mind being called a catastrophe.

And yes, the word matters because of the scope that it implies.

Re:eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514625)

To summarize the summary: "The most striking finding is that...it was not extraordinary."

Not to belittle the loss of those involved but it's always a bit much that 43 dead in the US = catastrophe. If this had happened in Asia or Africa it wouldn't make the news unless hundreds or thousands had been killed.

It doesn't matter the story I believe said it was the largest on US, U.S soil. Where did it say the largest disaster in the world? ""The research indicates the landslide, the deadliest in U.S. history""

And their report was already talked about by geologists a few weeks after the slide, there were warnings that people living in the area were at risk, for a good long time. The press whacked off over it for 2 weeks afterwards. I believe the Federal Government holds a great deal if not sole responsibility, if I remember right they too knew the dangers and did nothing.

Yes these happen throughout the world, but they too get reported on worldwide. Don't sit their and pretend the media doesn't cover anything outside the US, regardless of a death toll.

6 tenths of a mile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47513697)

How many furlongs would that be?

Re:6 tenths of a mile (1)

Demena (966987) | about 2 months ago | (#47513735)

Four point eight (4.8) furlongs.

Re: 6 tenths of a mile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47513833)

Hmm, what is this "point" thing you speak of? All sounds a bit decimal/metric!

I think you mean "forty-eight tenths of a furlong", or "four and four-fifths furlongs".

Re: 6 tenths of a mile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514769)

Huzzah!

Re: 6 tenths of a mile (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515035)

Four furlongs and 8 chains, of if you prefer, four furlongs and 32 rods.

Re: 6 tenths of a mile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47516011)

Engineers' or Surveyors' Chains?

Just noticed your earlier comment... (1)

khayman80 (824400) | about 2 months ago | (#47523169)

Gender is not binary. There are, I believe, quite a large number of transgender, transexual and gender fluid people in the slashdot community. I do not know about the person you are arguing with but I suspect they should and are losing their arguments. However if you attack them on the basis of expressed gender then you are going to alienate a lot of transgender people if your attitude to them is that they are prima facie liars. I would think it best to drop the gender issue. [Demena, 2014-07-20] [slashdot.org]

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I support the transgendered community and certainly don't consider them liars. But it seems very unlikely [slashdot.org] that Jane/Lonny Eachus is part of that community. If I'm wrong then I'll apologize, retract my accusations, and support Lonny Eachus as she transitions to Jane.

Re:Just noticed your earlier comment... (1)

Demena (966987) | about 2 months ago | (#47528117)

I followed the link you gave me and I am not sure that I agree. Anyone using a female pseudonym for over five years is going to wind up a little gender bent even if they did not start out that way. If it acts like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and is treated as a duck then it becomes a duck. Neuroplasticity and all that. But even greater than the number of gender bent is the number of gender confused. Transition is not the objective of all tg people. That would be far from the truth. I think I would like to stand by what I said, i.e.. that by all means maintain and continue your arguments with this person but I would recommend not chastising someone for gender issues or expressed gender issues. No one wants to be tg. Nobody would choose it.

Re:Just noticed your earlier comment... (1)

khayman80 (824400) | about 2 months ago | (#47528819)

Again, thanks for the thoughtful feedback. One reason I'm criticizing Jane is precisely that I respect how difficult it is to be tg, and unlike Jane I feel like I "have an obligation to help them feel less uncomfortable with it" and that it's unquestionably better that tg is "becoming more socially acceptable." I get that nobody would choose to be tg, which means that their gender identities either legitimately conflict with their chromosomes or even that they're simply gender confused, as you say. This means actual transgendered people are expressing an inner truth when they bend their genders.

That's one reason Jane's comments are harmful. He doesn't seem to be expressing an inner truth. In my opinion, he seems like a destructive narcissist who's cynically posing as a woman on a largely male website to get his repugnant comments more attention. There's a difference between Jane's behavior and actual gender confusion, and I think some of the cultural resistance toward accepting tg might come from a mistaken perception that the transgendered are like Jane/Lonny Eachus. Instead, the transgendered are expressing an inner truth about their gender identity which might be more socially acceptable if people like Jane/Lonny Eachus weren't giving them a bad name.

Again, if I'm wrong then I'll apologize, retract my accusations, and support Lonny Eachus as ve experiments with vis gender identity.

a question.... (2)

thephydes (727739) | about 2 months ago | (#47513893)

I don't live there, but looking at some of the photos, is deforestation potentially part of the problem? Honest question for which I expect to be flamed by some.... but there it is.

Re:a question.... (5, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | about 2 months ago | (#47513991)

No. Deforestation is not the problem. The problem is the entire area is a natural slide area because of the soil type. People encroached on that slide area and expected it to be stable (much the same as they encroach on floodplains and barrier islands and wetlands).

No, what "caused" the loss of life more than anything was people moving into a high risk area.

Re:a question.... (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 months ago | (#47514425)

+1 if I had it. So often you hear about these "catastrophes" when it's people moving into dangerous areas. Like people on the East Coast and hurricanes.

These folks didn't "expect" the slide to be stable, they "hoped" it would be.

Re:a question.... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#47515815)

What is the solution? Other than allowing insurance companies to price such considerations into their policies, I don't see one. Simply zoning the land into oblivion by law is too crude, given that many places come with risks to varying degree. Money is practically the only way to get people to think quantitatively, and insurance companies have the resources to factor in things like environmental studies whereas individuals do not.

Re:a question.... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47515951)

Actually the group worst hit WAS in an area where they weren't supposed to be, but they had the attitude of damn gubmint can't tell me what to do. source [nbcnews.com] (among many). If you think these folks would have been worried about higher insurance rates you're almost as loony as they are =)

Re:a question.... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#47516323)

But that's just it. If the government says "you can't live there," people rebel. But if a sign saying "Private Property - No Trespassing" bars the same people from even setting foot there, and they are priced out of buying their own property there because it is too expensive, that they have no problem with, since it's just economic forces at work, which are presumably infallible or for that matter unstoppable.

Re:a question.... (1)

penix1 (722987) | about 2 months ago | (#47537529)

What is the solution? Other than allowing insurance companies to price such considerations into their policies, I don't see one.

You seem to be eliminating the most powerful tool in the box. The insurance should reflect the risk. Another tool is requiring FULL disclosure by realtors trying to sell such a structure. Lastly, build sensibly taking the risk into account. If you are building into a flood zone, require the structure to be elevated above the base flood elevation. If you are building in known hurricane territory, require wind resistant building on top of the elevations. For landslide, require the developer to stabilize the slope BEFORE issuing the building permits for the structure. Had that happened in this case, those buildings wouldn't have been built because the cost to stabilize the hillside would be astronomical pricing the land out of development.

Re:a question.... (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 2 months ago | (#47514503)

I wonder would could be used to hold the soil in place? If there was only a way, something to hold it all together...

Re:a question.... (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47514829)

To be fair, if you look at the scale of that thing, what fell is far deeper than tree roots are going to go.

There was a landslide on my land a few years ago... actually just 50-100 meters from where I'm getting ready to build my house (but the terrain is different, that's a groundwater-infiltrated glacial till-underlain marsh while my house site is basalt bedrock). It's weird looking at pictures of this giant slide, how much it looks like a 20x bigger version of my little one, from the smooth, rimmed conchoidal scarp to the river-damming piles of debris at the bottom. In my case, there were no trees, but there was grass. The grass managed to hold it for a while... but not forever. The roots just don't run deep enough. In my case, the solution (in progress) is surely just to plant water-tolerant trees (here's to hoping that dawn redwood and swamp cypress can survive in Iceland...). But what sort of trees could anchor such a massive slope as the Oso one? I know a lot of desert trees like mesquite can have super-deep root systems, but they wouldn't grow in Washington.

Re:a question.... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#47515285)

Also, I think any sort of root system would become less effective as the size of the anchored volume increases. For example, doubling the spatial scale of the volume to be anchored means that you have have four times the surface area to anchor to bedrock, but eight times the mass that needs to be anchored.

Suppose your landslipe was exactly a twentieth the mass and volume of the Oso one. Then your slide area would have about 2.7 less mass per surface area for roots to anchor. Get a large enough unstable area and nothing can anchor it. That's why Earth is an oblate spheroid in the first place.

Re:a question.... (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47515485)

Trees suck up water that otherwise causes slides.

You're focusing on the wrong variable with surface area. Figure out water flows and how trees smooth those out.

Re:a question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47516219)

Which is why landslides have only existed since mankind has been around to cut down trees?

Re:a question.... (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47517661)

Which is a slippery slope argument (literally!).

Deforestation contributes to landslides and water runoff volume. It is not a magic bullet. Landslides might still occur if the land on top of the cliff hadn't been logged. But they would be less likely. And you would have nice old growth forests.

Re:a question.... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 2 months ago | (#47517297)

Not just that, but the damage done to a forest floor after a fire will certainly contribute to water erosion. You think the folks in Manitou Springs are going to keep their sandbags at the ready for the next decade worth of Spring runoff?

Re:a question.... (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47517679)

Yes, the destruction of trees through harvesting contributes to water runoff. Why do you think flash floods happen in treeless areas like Utah box canyons?

Re:a question.... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#47518211)

Trees suck up water that otherwise causes slides.

Unless it rains a lot. You can increase the threshold a bit before a slide occurs, but big, unstable areas will slide sooner or later.

There's really only two ways to deal with landslide issues this big - disposable land use or get rid of the hillside.

Re:a question.... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47515989)

You could try river birch if you're subarctic.

Re:a question.... (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47516433)

I had paperbark birch seeds, which are also pretty water tolerant (though not as much as river birch), but none sprouted - ironically I think the seeds were too wet when I stratified them (same with my maples). Isn't river birch (B. nigra) a warm-weather birch species? I've got some cuttings of random local birches from a neighbor but I have no clue whether any of them are water tolerant enough to take swampy ground. Also birches don't usually get that tall so I don't know how expansive of a root system they'll put down. The abundant local species B. nana (dwarf birch) grows (nay, volunteers) readily here almost anywhere that sheep don't graze, but it's just a shrub, I doubt it'd do the trick (though it's probably better than just grass). It can take wet soil, although not totally swampy conditions.

For the wetter areas I also have about a dozen or so western redcedar seedlings - they're not as swamp-tolerant as dawn redwood and western recedar, but they're still reportedly quite tolerant of wet or even waterlogged soils, and they should be more cold/wind hardy than those two (wind is actually the big issue, it doesn't really get that cold here). I've also got a number of other pacific northwest trees with varying degrees of standing water tolerance. Oh, and a species or two of tasmanian mountain eucalyptus (don't remember which ones) that tolerate fairly swampy ground and should at least stand a fighting chance against our winds.

Basically, I'm just going to plant a ton of stuff and see what survives. ;)

One plus is that where the ground is persistently wet and at landslide risk, it is slowly flowing water, it's not standing. It's constantly replaced by fresh, cold ground-filtered water, so there's probably not as much risk of root rot as might be common otherwise. But there's still the oxygen issue. That and the damned sheep, but I'm working to fix that issue once and for all...

Re:a question.... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47516981)

River birch survives just fine in my climate here in Northeastern Ohio, we average 1.5m of snowfall and regularly see -23C temperatures with dips about once a decade down to around -35C. We're at the extreme northern end of their range though so it would probably be a crap shoot as to whether it would grow.

Re:a question.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47514183)

I don't live there, but looking at some of the photos, is deforestation potentially part of the problem?

Yes. Don't listen to the sibling comment, which ignores the well-known fact that deforestation in fact was a contributing factor. Of course, if you actually wanted to know the answer to your question, you would have found it with google, dozens of times over.

Re:a question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514447)

If you also read the report you would know that deforestation was ruled out as a reason in this particular case. The whole area is just a slide area and people had bad luck to build houses where they should not have.

Re:a question.... (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 2 months ago | (#47515003)

Sorry, if I can't blame Republicans or corporations, I'm outta this topic.

Re:a question.... (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47515533)

When the disaster strikes, I can count on my good old Republican corporations to save me, because they will profit. Oh, wait.

Re:a question.... (1)

Smask (665604) | about 2 months ago | (#47514667)

Deforestation helps, but the main cause here are "Glacial deposits" + rain, because I suspect those areas were under the sea level during the last ice age. Clay deposits made in seawater is called "quick clay" when the salt is filtered away.

Re:a question.... (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47514845)

The 'pedia says that it's an ancient delta of glacial sand that was subsequently exposed to a lot of water flow, washing out the silt and clay, leaving just the loose sand and gravel with nothing to cement it together.

Re:a question.... (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47515511)

Trees reduce the water flows. It's not the anchoring depth of the roots that matters, but the water retained by the large trees.

Re:a question.... (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47515679)

Are trees supposed to eliminate the river at the bottom that's been eating away at the foundation of the slope?

Re:a question.... (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47515979)

No, I don't think you have the physics right. Water flowing into the hill from the top down causes the slide. The river is far enough away from the cliff that your scenario doesn't happen.

Re:a question.... (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47516505)

That's not what everything I've read about the disaster has said. The mountain has gone through cycles - whenever it collapses, the river gets moved away, and the slides stop for a time, but eventually it wears away the footings enough that it falls again. They'd even tried to prevent landslides there by manually shoring up the base back in the 1960s, but it just flowed over their reinforcements.

The waterlogging of the soil is also a necessary factor too, mind you - not saying otherwise. :)

Re:a question.... (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47517785)

I've been in that area. The river is far enough away from the sides of the valley that it isn't eroding the slope. In my observational opinion. The river went through flat land, at least several hundred yards away from the valley wall.

Re:a question.... (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47518399)

I seriously doubt those areas were under sea level during the last ice age. Sea level was several hundred feet lower at the time. But glacial deposits + rain is a good enough reason for the slide to have occurred.

See pages 146-147 of the linked report (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47520873)

Pages 146 and 147 of the linked report go into the associations to timber cuts. They indicate positive correlations and previous reports have fingered this effect at the same exact site. Citations are provided in the report.

The amount timber harvests contributed was "beyond the scope of our reconnaissance effort", but the citations provide somebody with an interest with a way to see what other reports that did have it within scope have said.

Some real estate valuations .... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#47515883)

... are going to collapse if surverys of old slides are made easily available.

It's possible to map ground contours using SAR [wikipedia.org] through vegetation. And it would be trivially easy to make property purchases conditional on a risk assesment of landslide conditions basd upon past slide activity. There goes the market for those cheap riverfront vacation properties.

Re:Some real estate valuations .... (1)

nolife (233813) | about 2 months ago | (#47516645)

There goes the market for those cheap riverfront vacation properties.

There is a very good reason that some river front property is very cheap.

Well, this is a waste of time. (2)

B33rNinj4 (666756) | about 2 months ago | (#47516545)

I really like how instead of intelligent discourse about the triggers for the landslide and any possible ways to prevent/predict future landslides, people latch on to one phrase, and use it to belittle the media or other political stances. It's like those Christian right-wing people obsessively throwing the word "hypothesis" around to justify their idiotic creationist beliefs. Was it a tragedy? Yes. Was it a disaster? Yes. Is that was this discussion is about? No. Please take it somewhere else, so we can continue to discussion.
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