flooding in Central America

Larry Caldwell larryc at teleport.com
Sat Nov 21 21:14:51 EST 1998

In article <36554E5C.444EAB45 at forestmeister.com>, 
redoak at forestmeister.com writes: 

> Sure, that hurricane is where the water came from. And the water would
> have drained away without dragging down the mountains with them without
> land clearing and indiscriminate logging.

Are you sure about that?  We have been doing a lot of studies in the PNW 
about slides since the floods of 95 and 96.  Studies indicate that old 
growth and newly logged lands are the most prone to slides, while the 20-
year reprod is the least likely to slide.   Poorly constructed roads are 
a particular problem.  There are highways on the west coast that fill up 
with mud on a regular schedule.  The highway dept. digs the mud off, 
which undercuts the slope and gets it ready to slide again.

And of course, it's the huge amounts of rain that liquify the soil and 
cause the slides.  The biggest slide in Honduras was the rim of a 
volcanic crater that cut loose and moved millions of cubic yards of rocks 
and debris downhill.  That is just what volcanoes do.  Geologists have 
been saying for years that Mt. Ranier is a huge lahar waiting to happen.  
The whole mountain is poised to slide into the Puget sound.  That doesn't 
stop people from building million dollar vacation homes there.

Slides happen whether people are there or not.  When people are there, 
they get killed.  When they are not, nobody pays any attention.

-- Larry

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