Kennecott slide triggered 16 earthquakes, study shows

Landslide debris equivalent to material in 21 of Egypt's great pyramids of Giza

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  • rickswife Cordes Lakes, AZ
    March 22, 2014 4:02 p.m.

    I would like to know how much how much dirt was moved in comparison to like the amount that was moved in the volcanic eruption to Mt. Saint Helen? I don't know how many square feet or what the dimensions are of either park you mentioned is.

  • CynicJim Taylorsville, UT
    March 22, 2014 6:32 a.m.

    I keep wondering, why with so much warning, so much equipment was lost. Was there some trucks that couldn't be started, did the engineers underestimate the size potential of the slide dimensions , was there negligence on the part of management? Was it too risky to move once the slide was predicted? Was the machinery too old, worn out, not running, was there useful life left in the equipment? It seems losses on this scale could be assigned to causes.

  • Andy in Sandy Sandy, Utah
    Jan. 7, 2014 5:00 p.m.

    Since the title includes the text "16 earthquakes", I would like to have known more about them. Where and when did they occur and how strong were they?

    Like others, I would like to learn more about the cause (as I am sure Rio Tinto wants to understand).

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 7, 2014 2:00 p.m.

    Maudine, thank you for the explanation.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    So Pagan, what does your post about greenhouse gasses have to do with the article about a landslide at Kennecott? Please, for once, try to be relevant.

    Basically what happened is, dirt on the side of the hole slid into the hole. Happens all the time on construction projects, holes dug on beaches, my backyard, etc. Although with much less volume Slope, weather, support failing, gravity, weight of the mass were all factors in the slide.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    @ dalefarr: The landslide was not caused by an earthquake - we know that much. Additionally, we know that some of the land involved started moving a substantial period of time before the actual landslide occurred, which is why no one was working in that area and why there was no loss of life. Some reports indicate that Kennecott knew the mass that would be involved, but were surprised at the area the mass covered - which would explain the loss of equipment (supposedly, they had known of the potential for a week or two, which indicates there should have been time to move the trucks, at least, if not some or the rest of the affected equipment).

    As for the cause of the landslide, I have not been able to find any conclusive data on that. Speculations are that there was a weakness in the substructure which caused a block of the lower half to move (we do know the lower block was moving) and when it moved/failed the support structure was no longer there for the top half which caused it to shift. This would explain the two time stamps.

    The cause may ultimately be just the sheer weight involved.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    *'EPA inventory shows Utah's sources of greenhouse gas' - By Amy Joi O'Donoghue - 02/05/13 - Published by the Deseret News

    'WASHINGTON — The nation's power plants continue to be the single largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to new information released Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.'
    In Utah, 14 power plants are responsible for 75 percent of the state's direct greenhouse gas emissions, releasing 33 million metric tons. '

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 7, 2014 10:16 a.m.


    Thanks for the clarification. That's the way I understood the article. What I don't understand is why that after all these months and study, we don't know the human decisions that caused this huge event.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 7:44 a.m.


    The slide came first, followed immediately by 2 small earthquakes, so the slide triggered the quakes. They played the sound (from the seismic monitors, sped up so we could hear it) of the slide and the earthquakes on the radio yesterday afternoon on an interview for NPR. It was interesting.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 6:48 a.m.

    Human activity doesn't affect the Earth and it's systems. Riiiiight.

  • Big Bubba Herriman, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 11:11 p.m.

    The only other modern slide that comes close in size is Frank Slide in southern Alberta.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 6, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    So what caused the slide? If it was human caused, what did the humans do or not do to cause the slide. If it was earthquake caused, please say so.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    Something not mentioned and I will stand corrected if someone knows different, but Campbell Scientific had sensors in the slide material which warned the company. Thus no injuries to workers. Sensors are still in the earth in potential slide areas. Campbell's is in Logan and specializes in weather sensors.