Landslide season is here

At about 1:00 a large landslide derails this freight train near Everett, Washington, on Monday, December 17, 2012.


On Monday, a landslide buried some 30 feet of track near Nisqually, between Olympia and Tacoma, with up to three-feet of mud, rocks, trees and other debris, leading Amtrak to cancel rail service between Tacoma and Olympia through today. And then there was the landslide near Everett caught on video derailing a passing freight train (UPDATE, 12/20/2012: KIRO-TV: Passenger train moratorium extended by new slide).

Here in Washington, a combination of climate , topography, and geology creates a perfect setting for landslides. In Western Washington, most landslides happen in fall and winter when we get big storms with heavy rainfall.

One of the most effective things you can do to keep safe in landslide country during landslide ‘season’ is to know where landslides have occurred in the past. DNR’s Geology and Earth Resources Division collects landslide data and, through its many research projects, is helping increase public understanding of landslide processes in Washington state. Take a look at our growing database on the Washington State Geologic Information Portal.

Please report any landslides you spot to DNR.

Learn more about landslide risks in shoreline areas from the Washington Department of Ecology.

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