Tag Archive for: landslide


The recent rains have caused more than a fear of flooding, as canyon hillsides are threatening to collapse and roads are being covered with mud.

“We’ve had this continuous rainfall that really started back in October,” said Jeff Niermeyer, Salt Lake City Public Utilities director. “It has just rained and rained and there’s no place for the water to go.”

The hillside at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, he said, has been sliding under increased water pressure since 1937, but has already moved 8 feet this spring with all the recent moisture.

“It starts to saturate the upper surface of the groundwater and what that does is basically relieve the inner pressure between the soil particles and creates the potential for landslides,” Niermeyer said.

Excess water sent an estimated 200,000 tons of rocks and mud onto state Route 39 Thursday evening, damaging at least two cars and closing the road on the southern shores of Pineview Reservoir for most of the day. Utah Department of Transportation engineer Brent DeYoung said the hillside had been stabilized, but more rain could change that.




With moisture-laden soil across the state receiving fresh bursts of precipitation this week, it’s not just floods that loom as a threat for Utahns, but mudslides as well.

“It’s not too soon to say there are potential problem areas,” said Rich Giraud, senior geologist with the Utah Geologic Survey’s geologic hazards program.

April is typically the month along the Wasatch Front for slide activity, but Giraud said there have already been some problems reported, with slides in North Salt Lake and on transportation corridors such as I-80 at Parleys Summit.




The recent earthquakes and tsunamis in other parts of the world have made some people along the Wasatch Front wonder if they are ready for a natural disaster in their own community. Many have checked their emergency kits, food storages and even building foundations in preparation.

In Cedar Hills, there is a different worry involving a recurring landslide, with the latest occurrence in August 2005 that caused the evacuation of many homes and families.

As part of precautions, the Cedar Hills Planning Commission took action on Tuesday to recommend adding a new paragraph to the current City Code describing how to measure the required 30 percent grade for building.

The code was made to stop developments from inching up toward dangerous ground and onto areas that may be affected by the landslide.




Demolition crews today are preparing to knock down a house damaged by a slow-moving landslide in the Springhill area.

City manager Barry Edwards said a recent report from the Utah Geological Survey indicated there had been “significant movement of the ground” in the past 30 days, creating additional damage to homes in the North Salt Lake neighborhood.

“There’s movement underneath the house,” Edwards said. “It’s pushing the house down the hill.”

Front pillars recently have fallen from the bank-owned home near 150 South and 400 East. In addition, the floor has buckled, and windows have broken.

“It’s getting in a position where the house itself poses somewhat of a safety hazard,” he said.

The bank obtained a demolition permit from the city, and crews were waiting for the gas to be shut off to the home before beginning demolition work.

Edwards said there are other houses in the area that are in similar condition and also should be torn down. However, owners of those homes haven’t yet said that’s what they want to do.

“We haven’t pressed (the issue) because the people who lived in those houses have already been financially stressed,” he said. “We don’t want to add any financial burden on them right now.”

According to the Utah Geological Survey’s website, the state agency has been monitoring conditions in the Springhill neighborhood since 1998. Residents first began noticing cracks related to minor movement in their homes about a year earlier.




A discussion that initially started out over a battle of water rights for a few individuals on Cedar Mountain as escalated to an issue t h a t could affect all of Iron County and its taxpayers.

While the county has put a six-month land use restriction  on residents of the $39 million Cedar Highland subdivision located on Cedar Mountain, developers are worried the restriction to build is affecting property values for homes in the area. Declining values in a multimillion dollar subdivision add up quickly and translate into the county having to make up the tax revenue elsewhere. That cost could fall on all property owners in Iron County.

Iron County is taking action on what could be a multi-million dollar landslide problem, but it might have come nearly 30 years too late, said Utah Geological Survey senior scientist Bill Lund. He said the county made a decision 30 years ago, in his opinion, based on “insufficient information.”

With more than 70 homes now above Cedar City in the Cedar Highlands area, Lund said he is holding his breath to see what will happen to the stability of the land in the area.  The homes have septic tanks, which have u n d e r g r o u n d water seepage, which lubricates the plates beneath the ground, Lund explained. On top of that, roads and paths that cut into the mountain also disrupt the stability of the area. Lund, who has more than 31 years of geological experience, said all of the infrastructure being built without a study becomes a cause for concern because changes on one lot can affect another.


The Spectrum

In light of the proposed Capo Di Monte subdivision on Cedar Mountain, the issue of the west facing side being declared a landslide, one of the largest in the state, is up for debate at Thursday’s Iron County Planning Commission meeting.

The Cedar Highlands subdivision exists on the mountain and has activated two of the smaller landslides since comprehensive studies were completed in 1981, which found the larger landslide to be inactive.

Bill Lund, Utah Geological Survey geologist, said based on his findings he would recommend that more research be done on the mountain before making any decisions to approve further development.



This issue contains:

    New Geologic Hazards Mapping in Utah

*Landslide Inventory Mapping in Twelvemile
Canyon, Central Utah
*Second Damaging Y Mountain Rock Fall in
Four Years
*Large Rock Fall Closes Highway Near
Cedar City, Utah
*Logan Landslide
*Teacher’s Corner
*GeoSights: Utah’s belly button, Upheaval Dome
*Glad You Asked: What should you do if you find a fossil?
Can you keep it? Should you report it?
*Energy News: Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Demonstration
Project Underway in Utah!
*Survey News
*New Publications



An upslope-facing scarp in the Springhill landslide in North Salt Lake. Additional damage to several of the houses on the landslide has resulted from an increase in the rate of movement in 2009

Local wet conditions in northern Utah have caused some landslides to reactivate along with other types of shallow slope failures. Areas with active landslides in early 2009 include Ogden Valley in eastern Weber County, western Morgan County, southeastern Davis County, and Spanish Fork Canyon in Utah County. Examples include:

1.  reactivation or acceleration of persistently moving historical landslides,
2.  minor movement of landslides in highway cut slopes,
3.  local highway embankment and rock-wall failures, and
4.  local shallow slides on steep slopes in pre-existing landslides.