On June 23,one of the largest fast-moving landslides in generations occurred near the village of Kelly, Wyoming. In just three minutes, huge amounts of rock and debris cascaded down the north slope of Sheep Mountain, changing the area forever.
Small amounts of water can strengthen soils because the surface tension of water increases soil cohesion. This allows the soil to resist erosion better than if it were dry. If too much water is present the water may act to increase the pore pressure, reducing friction, and accelerating the erosion process and resulting in different types of mass wasting i.
A good example of this is to think of a sand castle. Water must be mixed with sand in order for the castle to keep its shape. If too much water is Mass wasting the sand washes away, if not enough water is added the sand falls and cannot keep its shape.
Water also increases the mass of the soil, this is important because an increase in mass means that there will be an increase in velocity if mass wasting is triggered.
Saturated water, however, eases the process of mass wasting in that the rock and soil debris are easily washed down-slope. Types of mass Mass wasting edit ] Based on how the soil, regolith or rock moves downslope as a whole, mass movements can be broadly classified as creeps and landslides.
Creeps[ edit ] Soil creep is a slow and long term mass movement. The combination of small movements of soil or rock in different directions over time are directed by gravity gradually downslope. The steeper the slope, the faster the creep.
The creep makes trees and shrubs curve to maintain their perpendicularity, and they can trigger landslides if they lose their root footing. The surface soil can migrate under the influence of cycles of freezing and thawing, or hot and cold temperatures, inching its way towards the bottom of the slope forming terracettes.
Landslides[ edit ] A landslidealso called a landslip, is a slow or rapid movement of a large mass of earth and rocks down a hill or a mountainside.
Little or no flowage of the materials occurs on a given slope until heavy rain and resultant lubrication by the same rainwater facilitate the movement of the materials, causing a landslide to occur.
In particular, if the main feature of the movement is a slide along a planar or curved surface, the landslide is termed slump, earth slide, debris slide or rock slide, depending on the prevailing material. Movement of soil and regolith that more resembles fluid behavior is called a flow.
These include avalanchesmudflowsdebris flowsearth flowlahars and sturzstroms. Water, air and ice are often involved in enabling fluid-like motion of the material. A fall, including rockfall and debris fall, occurs where regolith cascades down a slope, but is not of sufficient volume or viscosity to behave as a flow.
Falls are promoted in rocks which are characterized by the presence of vertical cracks. Falls can also result from undercutting by running water as well as by waves.
They usually occur at very steep slopes such as a cliff face. The rock material may be loosened by earthquakes, rain, plant-root wedging, and expanding ice, among other things. The accumulation of rock material that has fallen and resides at the base of the structure is known as talus.
Triggers of mass wasting[ edit ] Soil and regolith remain on a hillslope only while the gravitational forces are unable to overcome the frictional forces keeping the material in place see slope stability. Some factors that reduce the frictional resistance relative to the downslope forces, and thus can trigger slope movement, can include:As we age, sarcopenia develops, which is the loss of muscle mass.
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2 Types of mass wasting processes Defined by the movement of the material The character of the movement •Fall • Slide •Flow Types of mass wasting. Geology Exam Review for Trimester A: Mass Wasting Mass Wasting study guide by jennastearns includes 28 questions covering vocabulary, terms and more.
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