Report: 2014 landslide triggered by earlier earth movements |

Report: 2014 landslide triggered by earlier earth movements

An aerial view of the Mesa County Mudslide from a plane flown by John Stanley on May 26, 2014.
Aaron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post |

DENVER — A new report shows that a deadly 2014 landslide in western Colorado began as a series of earth movements set off by a rainstorm 10 hours before the disaster.

The Denver Post reports ( ) that the study led by U.S. Geological Survey researcher Jeffrey Coe says the West Salt Creek landslide on the Grand Mesa was caused by a rainstorm over melting snowpack that triggered the movements. The May 25, 2014, slide struck near the town of Collbran and killed three people.

The report says an early morning rockfall had combined with a later earth failure, resulting in the sequence that led to the 2.8-mile-long slide.

Coe says a system to detect such precursor events isn’t yet available.

In October, researchers found the area still susceptible to another disaster of comparable magnitude.

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