Liquid Hills
May 12, 2010 10:05 AM   Subscribe

For Sale: Rural Italian countryside, Priced to MOVE! A landslide (mud flow?) splits a hillside apart in the southern Italian town of Maierato.
posted by thisisdrew (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ugh. This just happened in Quebec - the family was found dead in their house under a meter of mud. Horrific.
posted by fish tick at 10:14 AM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

That is the weirdest thing I've seen in quite a while. It just seems so unnatural to see land moving like that. Freaky. I hope no one was hurt or killed.
posted by xedrik at 10:22 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

The earth is not a static thing. Even in Central New York we have this sort of thing going on (check the second photo down).

That Italian video is seriously freaky. Thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2010

That is not at all what I expected a landslide to look like. I had no idea earth, rock and trees could move like that.
posted by Mcable at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

That's all wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

* crosses self *
posted by everichon at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2010

Interesting that this is from back in February. Usually I get updated on these sorts of videos pretty early on.

My biggest impression was how it simply kept going. I know practically that, when a section of the hill fails, it has a good chance of destabilizing the rest of the hill behind it as all of that pressure has just been removed. But it's different to see it. That video was two full minutes long and doesn't even capture it all, and how much material? It makes me wonder just how much rain they'd gotten, and also what type of soil and rock made up that hillside.

This would probably be technically called an 'earth flow' but you'd really have to investigate the material and water content to be sure.

It's landslide season here in Cincinnati as well; it's what we get for our building practices and bedrock. We have a great history of cutting off the sides of hills and piling the loose sediment on top to make the hill taller. Prime real estate up there, you know. (There's a large apartment complex called 'Cliffside' that is, of course, on a cliffside. I always wonder how the name is a selling-point.)
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2010

John McPhee's book Control of Nature has a fantastic piece about landslides/debris flows in Los Angeles. His description of what one family experiences when their house is hit by a debris flow is nearly as vivid as these videos.
posted by rtha at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2010

Hit post too soon.

There's a section of hillside right next to the freeway near the exit I take for work that I've been watching slump for at least three years now. It's not a very tall hill, but it's steep; sections near the top had begun to crack, and the whole of it was beginning to wrinkle like saggy stockings. Little drifts of dirt and rocks began appearing on the shoulder.

They finally went in last summer, dug some of it out, put a bunch of riprap at the toe, and covered the whole patch with that fabric that's embedded with grass seeds.

I drive by it every day. It's more stable than it was, but it's beginning to wrinkle again.
posted by rtha at 10:48 AM on May 12, 2010

What, no "the neighborhood was going downhill anyway", or "talk about a steep decline in property values"? Where is everybody today?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:48 AM on May 12, 2010

Super Mario tag? Really?
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:49 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

holy fucking shit my christ
posted by Nothing... and like it at 10:50 AM on May 12, 2010

Super Mario tag? Really?

Mamma Mia!
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:56 AM on May 12, 2010

I never knew landslides went so sloooooowly. And for so long.
posted by DU at 11:23 AM on May 12, 2010

Here's another video with a view of the run-out in its entirety. Not a lot of good angles on it for some reason.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:25 AM on May 12, 2010

8 people are currently under investigation for environmental damage due to misuse of a water treatment facility, which might have been dumping water in that area. Add to that possible deforestation issues and you have some 300 people out of a home since February.

But please, don't let that stop the stupid jokes & Eye-tie idiocy. BIG FAT JUICY HAMBUGER
posted by romakimmy at 11:31 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Landslides in theory are all alike; every landslide is unique in its own way. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single landslide in possession of a good flow, must be in want of a victim.
posted by stbalbach at 11:34 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Huge swaths of the land around here are silt bluffs just waiting for a few weeks of torrential rain to send them slumping into the valley below. The most at risk areas are restricted by the city to only mobilemanufactured homes with the thought that if things start to go cow ploppy shaped the owners can hook up and drive away. Kind of weird though to see what appears to be prime view real estate populated by trailers.
posted by Mitheral at 11:53 AM on May 12, 2010

What, no "the neighborhood was going downhill anyway", or "talk about a steep decline in property values"? Where is everybody today?

Yeah, having a family of four die in abject terror as their home collapses into a sinkhole, when just moments before they were all just relaxing in front of the television -- yesterday and only a few minutes' drive from my home -- it seems to have impaired my punning ability.

I'll try to come up with some yuks and larfs for tomorrow, though. Apologies for the inconvenience.
posted by Shepherd at 11:55 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:14 PM on May 12, 2010

This kind of thing happens in western NC regularly. In fact, I-40 has just recently re-opened after a slide closed it last fall.
posted by pappy at 1:17 PM on May 12, 2010

romakimmy, do you have a source for that? I'd love to learn more.
posted by mediareport at 2:42 PM on May 12, 2010

Source in Italian; quite new in terms of news wire leads, but a cursory search of Maierata frana in Google news gives a bit more background if you can parse the Italian.
posted by romakimmy at 5:15 PM on May 12, 2010

It's just dirt that most of us live on... we take the solidity for granted.
posted by Eideteker at 10:51 AM on May 13, 2010

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