Natural disasters associated with land use changes and community growth

Natural disasters associated with land use changes and community growth is becoming more frequent in many regions of the world. A large percentage of the damage to property and loss of life is related to ignorance of local geologic and environmental risk factors resulting in uninformed building site choices. Watch the following video footage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZGqtG_xkiw&feature=related) from the 1999 Forest Falls, CA disaster and consider the following questions while watching:

1.) How would you characterize the natural disaster in Forest Falls, CA from the images you saw and the conversations the interviewer had with the victims? Consider what the dominant mechanism must have been to generate the level of damage observed. You may want to refer to the Chapter 16 Supplement to the book for ideas and/or clarification.

2.) Describe the maximum, minimum, and average (approximate) clast size being moved in the video. (Refer to the clast size designations we used in lecture as a guide.) What is the relationship between clast size and the energy required to overcome the coefficient of static friction? (Don’t worry, you can keep it simple here…)

3.) What types of environmental conditions could contribute to the intensity of this event? (Consider the various components of hillslope stability from supplemental Chapter 16). What steps could have been taken (if any) to help mitigate this disaster? (Be creative, there are many ways to approach this problem…)

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