Losing by a landslide

Following the destruction of a home on Wildcat Run in Maggie Valley last week by a 300-foot mudslide (the residents survived), WNC-based anonymous blogger Gulahiyi developed a collection of information and maps that includes an illustration of “Slope Movements and Slope Movement Deposits” in Jackson County, prepared in 2007 by the N.C. Geological Society.

Gulahiyi recommends two particular Web sites for information on landslide hazards: “Introduction to Landslides, North Carolina Geological Survey” and The NC Mountain Landslides Website.

There is also a link to a video of a recent landslide in Japan, with a note that “among the many landslides to date in WNC, I don’t know that any have been captured on video, but a recent landslide in Japan was recorded and demonstrates how quickly and dramatically a mountain slope can collapse.”

When hurricanes Frances and Ivan passed over WNC in 2004, a reported 130 landslides resulted in five deaths and the destruction of 27 homes. Subsequently, a discussion of the lack of uniform slope-development regulation in the state, and the ancillary issue of lack of available insurance for slope-movement damage, appeared in the Mountain Xpress commentary, “Dream Home or Nightmare?” in 2006 as an attempt at state regulation of slope development was underway. But that attempt slid off the 2007-2008 legislative map. Its revival is now likely in the upcoming 2009 General Assembly, which opens later this month in Raleigh.

Nelda Holder, associate editor


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