What Causes Landslides?

Highway 1 south of Big Sur recently experienced its second large landslide in less than five years. In 2017, the Mud Creek landslide created catastrophic damage that caused closures for over a year as crews worked to clean up, strategize, and rebuild. Just recently, a second landslide damaged road access along Highway 1 at Rat Creek. The area had experienced over 16 inches of rainfall, causing the slope to cave and taking part of the Highway 1 road along with it. 

Caltrans has not announced any official plans or timelines for rebuilding the damaged highway. For now, crews of Caltrans District 5 are securing the area, assessing the damage, and initiating cleanup. In terms of travel, the road is currently open from Carmel through the town of Big Sur. 

What Causes Landslides?

Landslides are caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope. They are known to USGS as a type of “mass wasting, which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity.” Almost every landslide will have multiple causes to trigger their movement. These areas of land may have already been weakened by human activity, fires, snowmelt, or other natural causes. Once these areas of land are compromised, natural disasters such as heavy rains or earthquakes can result in landslides and major damage to impacted areas. In California for example, fires are common disasters that are known to destroy vegetation and alter the stability of the land. This makes the area particularly vulnerable to landslides after heavy rains and other natural occurrences.

Quality Management at G3 

At G3 Quality, our industry experts are active in California’s evolving specifications. Our team has extensive knowledge of local materials, environmental conditions, and material production. We develop project-specific quality programs that meet the requirements of local, state, or federal project standards and specifications.

We are industry leaders who are always embracing change and excellence. We are an elite team of engineers and professionals who provide world-class quality management, pavement engineering, materials design, construction inspection, and testing on infrastructure projects throughout California and the Western United States. 

To learn more about how G3 Quality can contribute knowledge, expertise, consulting, and professional services to your project, contact us.