Here’s how to recognize a landslide before it happens
No, what you see above isn’t the product of the special effects team for San Andreas II. It’s actual video footage taken by the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department of an enormous landslide that took out a third of a mile of the famous Pacific Coast Highway 1 on Monday.
According to a tweet Caltrans posted on Monday, millions of tons of rocks and dirt cascaded onto the cliffside highway, leaving a 40-foot wall of debris. “Mother Nature hard at work” indeed.
Though the scenic road wasn’t exactly passable before the massive shift in earth. Running through California’s famous Big Sur area, chunks of the highway had already been closed off to the public after this past winter’s heavy storms caused a series of smaller landslides. And as of now, it’s anyone’s guess when the road will be cleared for travel again—if there’s a road left at all.
“Whether that roadway is even there (anymore) will be interesting to see, once it's uncovered,” Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers told CNN.
According to HuffPost, there were no reported injuries or damage (beyond the buried highway) as a result of the landslide. Apparently, Caltrans officials pulled all crew off the area, which is just 8 miles north of the Monterey/San Luis Obispo county line. As Shivers explained to HuffPost, “We were fearful that something could happen, [but] we didn’t think it would be anything like this.”
While the chances you’ll die from getting buried alive in a landslide are approximately 1 in 1 million each year, it doesn’t hurt to know the warning signs and further decrease those slim odds. According to Gizmodo, there are obvious sign, like rocks falling down a hillside (in which case, you should get out of your car and run). Then there are more subtle indicators of impending collapse, like buckled fences, cracking pavement, and trees that have a J-shaped bent. And, lastly, if you’re near a source of water and there are any big, sudden changes, get out of there immediately. In the same way a rapidly receding shoreline means a tsunami is coming, quick changes in lakes and river bodies likely signal the earth is shifting beneath your feet.