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Chinese Landslides—Facts About Landslides

More than 700 people are dead from a landslide in China. More than 1000 people are missing.

(Above—Teams of people are looking for survivors in the Chinese landslides.)

What is landslide? How are landslides caused?

Here is how landslides are described by the Federal Emergency Management Agency—

Landslides occur in all U.S. states and territories. In a landslide, masses of rock, earth, or debris move down a slope. Landslides may be small or large, slow or rapid. They are activated by:

  • storms,
  • earthquakes,
  • volcanic eruptions,
  • fires,
  • alternate freezing or thawing,
  • and steepening of slopes by erosion or human modification.

Debris and mud flows are rivers of rock, earth, and other debris saturated with water. They develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground, during heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt, changing the earth into a flowing river of mud or “slurry.” They can flow rapidly, striking with little or no warning at avalanche speeds. They also can travel several miles from their source, growing in size as they pick up trees, boulders, cars, and other materials.

Landslide problems can be caused by land mismanagement, particularly in mountain, canyon, and coastal regions. In areas burned by forest and brush fires, a lower threshold of precipitation may initiate landslides. Land-use zoning, professional inspections, and proper design can minimize many landslide, mudflow, and debris flow problems.

The FEMA link has tips on how to survive a landslide.

The U.S. Geological Survey has a Landslides Hazards Program.

Here are a number of landslide links from the Geological Survey.

Here is a list of major world landslides in the past 100 years.

Here is a map of areas in the U.S. that are prone to landslides.

The Chinese landslides are taking place in Zhouqu County which is part of Gansu Province. The read area in the map below is Gansu Province.

Zhouqu County is part of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Gannan has seen riots between people on Tibetan origin and Han Chinese.

I’ve never heard of Gansu, but the fact is that 26 million of our fellow world citizens live in this place.

Here are some facts about Gansu. I’d like to find a resource other than Wikipedia for these facts, but the only other descriptions of any length I can find about Gansu come from the brutal and undemocratic Chinese Government.

Here is the English language web home of Gansu Province. There is no mention of the landslides on the web page even though it is all over the world press.

The landslides have been caused by the flooding of the Bailong River. Though unchecked development along this river may be the true cause.

So you can’t quite call it a natural disaster.

I’m sorry for the loss and suffering these folks in this region of China are experiencing.

The International Red Cross has nothing on the landslides at the moment.  As the situation goes on, maybe there will be information on how to donate and offer help.

(Below—The Labrang Monastery in the Gaanan Province. I don’t know much about the interior of China. I think I need to read up at least a bit on this big chunk of our world. We all have the ability to learn about any subject if we are willing to make the effort.)

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment