What is a Landslide? Here are 5 Tips to Prevent It

September, 30 2019

Let’s start with the technical definition.

A landslide occurs when the earth, soil or rock is no longer able to hold itself up and gives way, usually due to heavy rainfall or a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or even a volcano.

If you’re wondering how landslides affect the environment, then it’s not just about potential damage to human life.  A landslide, can also damage building structures, contaminate underground water systems, destabilize foundations, and wreak havoc on agriculture and wildlife habitats.

In this blog, we’re going to look at five ways you can prevent a landslide from affecting your construction projects.

 5 tips on how to prevent landslides

 1. Use sandbags

If you experience heavy rainfall in your area, you could look to temporarily minimize a landslide by deploying sandbags or plastic sheeting and tarps.  Even burlap can protect areas that are prone to flooding and breakage.

2. Vegetate your slopes

Landslides can quickly and easily happen in sloped areas on your property due to the influence of gravity as well as the environmental pressures alluded to above. One of the quickest and easiest ways to prevent this is by planting vegetation. The presence of plants on your slopes will lead to excess water being absorbed, lessening the chance of rain infiltrating any cracks in the soil and causing a landslide.

3. Think about your retaining walls

Your retaining walls should be made of sturdy construction material, whether it’s stone, brick or steel. Drainage materials located behind the wall will also help to increase its stability and keep the construction stable even if a landslide does occur. The use of gutters to direct rain flow underneath the ground will also help prevent landslides.

4. Building diverting debris pathways

Another option for preventing landslides on the property you are building is through creating dedicated debris pathways.  With the help of your retaining walls, these will help to divert the flow of landslide debris away from your property, reducing the chances of it becoming damaged when massive rain hits. Be careful where you direct the flow to, however: if the flow lands on a neighbor’s property, you could be held responsible for any damage this causes.

5. You can alter the gradient of the slope

Slope gradient is probably the most sophisticated solution to preventing a landslide, but it’s also one of the most effective.  Altering the angle of the slope involves taking some of the material from the upper part and relocating it towards the base.  You’ll need to entrust someone who has professional expertise in doing such work, rather than taking it on yourself, which could make your existing structure susceptibility to landslides worse.

Contact us and maximize the productivity and profitability of your projects in Southern California by supporting them with our geotechnical engineering and geological experience. Please speak to one of our geotechnical consultants today at G3SoilWorks.


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