Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tennessee Landslide

No, this is not a new one, but it is a "geo-favorite" of mine as I have driven this section of U.S. Hwy 64, along the Ocoee River several times. Though this is a small landslide, the "carrying-along" of the trees is impressive to students.

The newsmen discuss making the video:

Of importance is the way the gentleman in the red shirt discusses the sounds that preceded the slide. Listen to nature!

Part II, from YouTube user "wdef":

Tennessee Geologist Vanessa Bateman was responsible for clearing the area of TDOT workers, journalists, etc.. To review, there had been a small landslide and the various observers had gathered to look and the TDOT workers had gathered to start cleaning the road. Apparently, Vanessa arrived, looked and listened to the mountain-side and decided "this ain't over, yet." and ordered people and equipment out of the area. Thankfully, they listened.

To add a little local geo-info, this area is in SE Tennessee and the rocks here are mostly slates and other low-grade metamorphics of Precambrian age (if memory serves me correctly). As you can see, many of the fractures/rock-cleavage planes are dipping towards the highway, so after heavy rains, this area is always going to be susceptible to landslide events.

In closing, this is a geo-favorite because (in no particular order):

1) It shows nature in action.
2) It is "local" (in terms of Southern Appalachians).
3) No one got hurt.
4) A Geologist was the hero. Sometimes we don't get no respect from engineers - been there, done that - on a less dramatic scale.

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