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Two-year project will study landslides in Arizona

PHOENIX — A two-year project led by the Arizona Geological survey will study landslides and their causation in the state.

According to Mike Conway with AZGS, landslides are a real issue in Arizona and they haven’t been studied enough.

“We have lots of hilly terrain and mountains and we’re going to try to pull together as much information as we can and make it available to the public so people can make informed decisions on land use,” he said. “We need to treat landslides just as we treat flooding. There are a lot of landslides out there but we know they’re not throughly mapped and they’re poorly understood as far as the timing so we’re going to try and get a handle on that.”

A landslide destroyed US 89 near Page, Arizona in 2013, resulting in a two-year closure and $25 million repair bill.

Conway said the study will inventory historic and prehistoric landslides, beginning with highly-populated areas and transportation corridors where landslide danger is greatest. The chances of a landslide are rising as development expands into mountainous terrain and as record wildfires and monsoon rains fuel fast-moving debris flows.