KEENE, NEW YORK– 82 acres of earth are currently sliding down New York’s Adirondack Mountains at a rate of about two feet per day, making it both the largest and slowest landslide the state has ever seen.
Little Porter Mountain, in Keene Valley, succumbed to heavy groundwater caused by high snow and rain levels. The massive slide began on May 6th, and expert geologists like Andrew Kozlowski have no idea how long it could continue—month, maybe years.
“That’s the side of a mountain that’s in full motion right now,” Kozlowski said. At nearly a mile wide and weighing millions of tons, the slide has potential to do serious damage. Already one home has been destroyed and five more are in peril.
The United States Geological Service says that landslides are common throughout the U.S., occurring in every state. Between 25-50 people are killed every year by landslides, and they cause up to $1 billion dollars in damage. The Adirondacks are particularly susceptible, geologists, because the peaks are formed of tons of rubble and fine-grain sediment on top of bedrock.
“All you need is a lot of groundwater,” Kozlowski says, “and they slide and slip.”
(Image credit Lori Van Buren, Times Union. Story Zach Howard, Reuters.)