Evaluating Rainfall, Landslides, and Weather: Big Sur, California
In this two-part activity, the students will first test the relationship between precipitation and frequency of mass wasting events. They will research and analyze real local data to investigate and understand landslide potential. They will also work on understanding the link between weather patterns (El Niño) and mass wasting events.
- To test the hypothesis that there is a relationship between precipitation and frequency of mass wasting events
- To analyze real local data to investigate and understand landslide potential
- To research records from data repositories.
- To understand the link between weather patterns (El Niño) and mass wasting events
This activity covers a local common hazard and its risks. The students learn how to find the location of potential landslides and how they are linked to weather.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
They have to go to that website and find this year's rainfall record and compare it to previous years.
Part 2 - They study a Table that lists years of weak/moderate/strong El Nino and local rainfall for those years. They answer a few questions about their relationship.
Teaching Notes and Tips
- The tables can be given to students with the word document, as an excel file (better), or if you have lab time, you could make them retrieve the information from the websites (best).
- I like adding a third part to this lab about local geology and how the types of material affect the mass wasting movements:
Part 3 - The type of landslide will be influenced by the type of material that is involved. For the same conditions, it is obvious that a weaker type of rock moves easier than a more resistant one.
9. Browse in the 2010 interactive California map and choose a section of Big Sur and explain briefly its geology.(https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/?extent=7.71099,-144.22852&extent=60.02095,-45.79102)
10. GO to the CSG report 185 link, find your chosen section, and see what type of geological map and landslide map has been produced for that area. Does it make sense to you? how many potential landslides are there?
References and Resources
Reports Big Sur Landslides:
C.J. Wills, M.W. Manson, K.D. Brown, C.W. Davenport and C.J. Domrose, 2001, Special Report 185 - Landslides in the Highway 1 Corridor: Geology and Slope Stability along the Big Sur Coast between Point Lobos and San Carpoforo Creek, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, California. California Geological Survey, 40 pp. http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/Documents/Landslides/Caltrans/SR_185/CT001mon%20Report.pdf
Estimated Sediment Yield from Coastal Landslides and Active Slope Distribution Along the Big Sur Coast, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, California, from the SIMoN Project at http://sanctuarysimon.org/projects/100243/estimated-sediment-yield-from-coastal-landslides-and-active-slope-distribution-along-the-big-sur-coast,-monterey-and-san-luis-obispo-counties,-california-- (offline)
NOAA El Niño/ENSO Discussion at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/teleconnections/enso/enso-tech.php
NOAA's El Niño page at https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/elnino/
Landslides Local News:
Department of Conservation of California Geological Survey. Regional Geologic Hazards and Mapping Program. Pdf of Special Report 185, geological maps and landslide maps can be downloaded at http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/rghm/landslides/Pages/Index.aspx
CSG Interactive California geological map at https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/?extent=7.71099,-144.22852&extent=60.02095,-45.79102