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A massive landslide occurred in the Las Colinas neighborhood of Santa Tecla, El Salvador, Central America as a result of the M=7.6 earthquake of January 13, 2001. Rescue efforts are still under way at the Las Colinas landslide site, as preliminary reports have as many as 1,200 people missing.
USGS has dispatched personnel, already working in Central America, to evaluate the earthquake and landslide situation.
Ed Harp, Landslide Emergency Response Coordinator for the USGS Geologic Hazards Team is currently in El Salvador with Jim Vallance from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory.
The primary earthquake effect was structural damage to unreinforced masonry residential and business structures. View of headscarp of Las Colinas landslide showing fractures in Balsamo ridge behind the scarp.
Rock falls in rhyolitic Tierra Blanca ash deposits near Lago Ilopongo showing location of structures near steep slopes in the ash. Earthquake-induced landslides occur in scattered pockets across the country, but the Santa Tecla landslide is one of the largest and is the remaining hazard of greatest concern.
Ed recommends that Santa Tecla slide and the adjacent area be flown at scale of 1:6000 covering an area of about 5 x10 km. The topographic effects of ridge apparently had pronounced effect of increasing the strength of the shaking intensity. Ministry of the Environment is overseeing effort to do this detailed crack mapping in a 1 x 5 km area.
Salvadoran officials need answers about how to deal with the landslide immediately and in the longer term: When can people move back in?
In a general way, the geographic distribution of landslides roughly corresponds to the distribution of young ash, tuff, and tephra deposits on steep slopes incised valley walls and river channels. In region to east and north of Lago Ilopango and some near Lago Coatepeque (east of Volcan Santa Ana). PanAmerican Highway Closure: slides have blocked highway in area west of San Salvador, but major slide has blocked it east of Ilopango. Last week, a series of flash floods and mudslides struck the Serrana mountain region near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, destroying buildings roads and more. 3Rescuers hurry to help a man swept along by the waters in the flooded Kaleme neighborhood in Teresopolis, Brazil on January 12, 2011. 4The slope on a hill where a landslide occurred in Nova Friburgo, 130 km north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 13, 2011. 6Rescue workers and residents search the rubble of a building that collapsed in a landslide in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on January 13, 2011. 7A resident walks by a car engulfed by sand after flooding in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, on January 16, 2011. 8Ludmila Moura, 5, sits on a mattress at a shelter for people displaced by landslides in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, Sunday, Jan.
10Brazilian marines aboard a helicopter loaded with humanitarian aid fly over an isolated area severely hit by landslides in Sumidouro, 70 Km from Teresopolis, Brazil, on January 18, 2011.
11Aerial view of an isolated area severely hit by landslides near Teresopolis, some 100 km from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 18, 2011.
12Aerial view of a house at risk following landslides in the locality of Poco Fundo, an isolated area near Petropolis, Brazil on January 18, 2011. 14A resident sits at home as rescue workers rummage through the scene of a landslide where they presume that around 15 people still remain buried in debris, at Jardinlandia neighborhood in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 18, 2011. 15Brazilian National Force rescue workers find the body of a man at the scene of a recent landslide, where seven people were found buried among debris in the neighborhood of Jardilandia, in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on January 19, 2011.
16A vehicle remains upside down after recent mudslides at Corrego Dantas neighbourhood, in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on January 16, 2011. 17A woman tries to recover belongings from her damaged house after a landslide in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Monday, Jan. 18An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by landslides in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Sunday, Jan.
19Firefighters, a National Force soldier and residents carry the body of a landslide victim from a home where the bodies of eight family members were found in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Thursday Jan. 20A woman wears a face mask due to dust and smell from rotten mud after landslides in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 21Coffins containing bodies of landslide victims rest on the ground at a cemetery in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Saturday, Jan. 22For a second consecutive day, "Leao" sits next to the grave of her owner, Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in this week's catastrophic landslides in Brazil, at the cemetery in Teresopolis, on January 15, 2011. 23Rescue workers get on a helicopter as they leave after searching for survivor and victims in an area affected by a landslide near Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Sunday, Jan. 24A man reacts at the place where his house once stood, before it was destroyed in a landslide in Nova Friburgo on January 18, 2011.


25Rescue workers remove a live rabbit as they search for survivors inside a home destroyed by a landslide in Teresopolis, Brazil on Thursday Jan. 26A Brazilian National Force rescue worker places the bodies of two boys inside the same bodybag on the scene of a recent landslide, where seven people were found buried among debris in the neighbourhood of Jardilandia, in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on January 19, 2011.
29A volunteer rescue worker holds a family picture of a man and two boys found on the scene of a recent landslide, where seven people were found buried among debris in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on January 19, 2011. 31Volunteers stack up donations at a Red Cross relief station in Teresopolis, Brazil on January 19, 2011. 32A resident grabs from a wall to avoid falling into a flooded street in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on January 16, 2011.
33An army helicopter lies on the ground after crashing during rescue operations after landslides in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Thursday, Jan. 34Two girls are treated at a school used as a hospital after landslides in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, Monday, Jan.
35A girl receives a container of potable water from a soldier in the landslide affected Alto Floresta neighborhood in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Jan.
36Local residents isolated by the floods get heliborne supplies in Sao Bento, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 20, 2011. 38A man washes a mannequin at a textile shop which products were destroyed by the recent floods at California neighborhood, in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on January 17, 2011.
39A firefighter reacts during a Mass in honor of landslide victims at a Catholic church in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Tuesday Jan.
40A car, dragged inside a church by a mudslide, is seen in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Friday, Jan. 41Residents talk while standing in a neighborhood near the rubble of a recent landslide in Teresopolis on January 14, 2011. Terrestrial landslides represent a constant and ubiquitous threat to the well-being of Canadians, accounting for an estimated $200 to $400 million in direct and indirect costs annually. Landslides pose a significant threat to humans (loss of life), infrastructure (destruction of roads, communication networks, pipelines, homes, etc.) and natural resources (timber, fisheries, mines). NRCan specialists engage in a variety of activities aimed to enhance the health and safety of Canadians and to protect their property from landslide hazards. This site allows for you to discover, view and download, free of charge, the following information using these services: airborne and marine geophysics, gravity data, borehole geophysics, and seismic and magnetotelluric data. If we look at landslides from the earth’s perspective we can define them as a condition towards stress relaxation and minimization of potential energy. In my opinion the most important triggering factor for a landslide to occur is the modification of groundwater or pore pressure conditions. Due to weather pattern changes, ancient, dormant or newly formed landslides will start to occur all and all more frequently.
Chrys Steiakakis is a practicing geotechnical engineer with more than fifteen years of experience in the field of geotechnical engineering.
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Also like IndiaTV's official Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to stay tuned to latest news. During this week's Bolivian landslide, whole neighborhoods and even a cemetery split, with land falling multiple stories downhill. Debris litters a crumbled road on Monday after landslides destroyed hundreds of homes in the Kupini and Valle de las Flores neighborhoods in La Paz (map), Bolivia, on Sunday. Bolivians attempt to recover their belongings a day after the Sunday landslide in Valle de Las Flores. A woman weeps over landslide damage on Monday in La Paz, Bolivia.One of nature's most powerful and destructive forces, landslides can occur wherever soil is loosened by rain or tugged by gravity. Bolivians look down at headstones on Monday, a day after a landslide in La Paz caused half a hillside cemetery to fall away.Generally speaking, landslides can occur without warning and travel for several miles.
Numerous landslides have occurred around other parts of Central America, most notably those which blocked the Pan American Highway, at several points. Ed, Willie Rodgriguez (USGS Puerto Rico district on special assignment to Guatemala for duration of the Hurricane Mitch Project) and Jim Vallance conducted reconnaissance studies of earthquake effects and landslides Wednesday in San Salvador, surrounding towns, and at Santa Ana volcano, about 60 km WNW of San Salvador.
Geological Survey, has received flight support from the US military for 2 days and from the El Salvadoran military for 1 day. Salvadoran officials want this area mapped in detail to determine what to do about the threat of further slides. They have the assistance of two consultants, (Spanish and Swiss) and some local technical people. Pockets are scattered and not of as large a concern in terms of immediate threats to people, but they have disrupted transportation routes, in particular the PanAmerican Highway at several locations.
Rock slides and soil slides on flanks of Volcan San Vicente; rock slides on slopes of steep valleys incised into volcanic edifices.


Here a steeply dipping joint surface has served as a slide plane and a large mass has collapsed onto the highway.
Nearly 14,000 people are now homeless, 759 are reported to have been killed and another 400 remain missing in this, Brazil's worst-ever natural disaster.
16, 2011, Ludmila was pulled out of her destroyed house by her father Marcelo Moura on the first night of heavy rains last Thursday. K-9 de Creixell, search for landslide victims in a home in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Thursday Jan.
NRCan scientists regularly work with industry, academia and other government agencies to provide critical scientific knowledge and related information to help guide others (e.g.
From basic data collection to the testing of new landslide monitoring technologies, including satellite Earth Observation data, and the development and provision of technical guidelines for professional practitioners, the collective focus of NRCan specialists is to minimize human and material losses associated with landslide geohazards. The earth is trying to come to equilibrium.  Landslides are formed either from natural conditions such as erosion of slope toe, geological uplifting etc or are manmade when extensive excavation or loading is taking place in the foot or the top of a slope respectively. This issue becomes more important if we consider the climate change which is producing different rainfall conditions with abrupt changes on ground water conditions. This will affect the economies and life worldwide and is something that needs to be addressed not only from geotechnical engineers and geologists but also by government officials, politicians and decision makers in general. He earned his bachelor and master in mining engineering from the Technical University of Crete, Greece and a second master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA. The USGS earthquake, volcano, and landslide reconnaissance team had air support from the U.S. Most buildings had no broken windows and collapse was scattered in the poorly built parts of the city. The team noted widely scattered evidence of liquefaction in the form of sand blows and flows. He spent part of his last day in the country (Saturday, 20 Jan.) on the ground at Santa Tecla (Las Colinas).
In rainy season there may be some potential for debris flows that could affect local farms, but probably won't threaten major populations centers. As soldiers make their way to remote towns with aid and transportation, Brazil's government has said it would accelerate efforts to build up a nationwide disaster-prevention and early-warning system. These are the main reasons why landslides form but the triggering mechanisms for a landslide to occur may be different. He has been the technical director of engineering department of General Consulting ISTRIA for four years and now he is a partner and also provides his own consultancy services via Geosysta ltd. According to the NEIC, the focal mechanism of the main shock (M7.6, Saturday, January 13, 2001) was 39 km deep, presumably in the subduction zone or lower plate. This stronger shaking is also supported by the abundant network of cracks along the ridge crest. East of Usulutan adjacent to channel of Rio Grande; river cuts through small range and abundant flooding of this part of river during Hurricane Mitch. Collected here are photos from the mountainous regions near Rio that were so hard-hit by these landslides.
Excessive rainfall, earthquakes and certain human activities are some of the factors that commonly trigger landslides. The earthquake was a tensional event (normal fault dipping about 45 degrees) rather than compressional thrust. The team has heard apparently reliable but unconfirmed reports of landslide dams on streams and rivers.
Extensive network of cracks exists on the ridge crest in areas that did not slide; these are cause for additional concern.
One strategy to mitigate this flooding potential was to create a diversion route through an abandoned paleochannel through the range; abundant slides occurred in the paleochannel which may affect the mitigation plan. Chrys with his long term collaboration with the Technical University of Crete has participated in numerous research projects in the field of geotechnical engineering and rock mechanics and has provided self sustained seminars of geotechnical engineering in related areas for the Industry. Liquefaction may have been a factor in the failure of the Las Colinas landslide; possibly related to the tephras resting on less permeable paleosols. Should the area of steep slopes immediately adjacent to the ridge be forbidden for resettlement?
His main field of experience covers all aspects of tunnel design, earthworks design and monitoring (slope stability, embankment in difficult ground, reinforced embankments and retaining walls), landslide investigation and mitigation, foundations for bridges and structures, risk assessment in geotechnical projects and value engineering in large projects. The distal end of the landslide showed evidence of being "soupy" even though there didn't appear to be much clay in the deposits.



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