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mass wasting

a comprehensive term for any type of downslope movement of Earth materials


earthflows and mudflows, rock-falls, and snow or debris avalanches


the very slow to rapid sinking or settling of Earth materials


a straight, nearly verticle slope segment (like El Capitan)

talus slope

fragments that fall from the free-face may accumulate at the base of the slope and for this


often originates ona slope where soil partially liquefies and runs out


also known as a debris flow, a mixture of rock, soil, and organic matter that mixes with air and water to flow rapidly down slope

debris avalanche

a very rapid to extremely rapid debris flow

lateral spreads

a type of landslide that often occurs on nearly flat slopes or very gentle slopes

driving forces

move Earth materials down a slope

resisting forces

oppose driving forces

slip planes

are geologic survaces exhibiting weakness in the slope material

factor of safety

defined as the ratio of the resisting forces to the driving forces

rotational slides

also known as slumps, the sliding occurs along a curved slip surface and tends to produce topographic benches that can be rotated and tilted int he upslope direction, common on soil slopes but can occur on some rock slopes, like shale

transitional slides

planar (occur along an inclined slip plane within a slope), common on rock slopes

soil slips

a type of transitional slide, are very shallow slides in soil over rock that occur to the slope


a mixture of weathered rock and other material


the very slow downslope movement of soil or rock


how steep a hill slope is


the characteristic weather at a particular place or region over seasons, years, or decades

quick clay

spontaneous liquefaction of clay-rich sediments, often produces slides




unstratified material

drainage control

surface and subsurface drainage control used to stabilize a slope.


changing the ground level to a smooth horizontal or gently sloping surface

slope supports

used to hold back excavation on restricted sites, and is capable of resisting the pressures of earth and groundwater

snow avalanche

a rapid downslope movement of snow and ice, sometimes with the addition of rock, soil, and trees


tracks previousl produced by other avalanches


a circular area of subsidence caused by the collapse of near-surface suberranean void or room in a cavern

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