2 Maps That Better Explain the Landslide Risk From This Giant Crack Above an Interstate

Drone footage shows the Rattlesnake Hills crack near Yakima, Washington.

Drone footage shows the Rattlesnake Hills crack near Yakima, Washington. Washington State Department of Natural Resources

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

The waiting game continues at the Rattlesnake Hills where the ground recently “changed its behavior.”

SEATTLE — Monitoring the giant crack atop a ridge hundreds of feet above an interstate highway in Washington state has already proven to be a waiting game. As the fissure in the Rattlesnake Hills about 3 miles south of Yakima grows and the earth moves approximately 1.6 feet per week, geologists and engineers are not entirely clear what will happen next.

In the past week, the slow-moving landslide, which involves approximately 4 million cubic yards and 20 acres of land, “changed its behavior and it is now not possible to estimate when or even if a large failure event will occur,” according to Washington State Department of Natural Resources information about the ongoing ground movement in the Rattlesnake Hills.

The crack, shown above in drone footage from Jan. 22, was originally detected in October. A few weeks ago, with new concerns about the growing fissure, a local road hugging the base of the Rattlesnake Hills was shut down as the Washington State Department of Transportation positioned a chain of large steel containers weighed down by concrete barricades to help prevent any rockfall from reaching Interstate 82.

If there are signs of an impending ground failure, the Washington State Department of Transportation will close I-82 and re-route traffic as a precaution. As the Yakima Herald-Republic reported Wednesday, there are 55 state, local, federal and Yakima tribal agencies monitoring the landslide and preparing to respond to various scenarios.

Early on, there were fears that the ground movement could lead to a possible larger landslide , massive enough to block the interstate and, potentially, the Yakima River. The landslide involves blocks of basalt moving atop a weaker sedimentary layer.

And while it’s impossible to know right now what the earth is going to do, authorities in Washington state believe “the most probable scenario” is the Rattlesnake Hills landslide will be mostly contained within an adjacent quarry to the south of the area of current movement. Any landslide that moves beyond the quarry, including some adjacent homes, I-82 and the river are “low-probability scenarios.”

These two maps from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources better explain the topography, the risks and where the ground is moving.

In the meantime, the waiting game near Yakima continues.

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
St. Louis Uses Interactive Kiosks as a Critical COVID-19 Communications Platform
St. Louis, MO, USA
Forecasting Ambulance Needs for the City of San Diego
San Diego, CA, USA
A large urban park creates a "connected" visitor experience with SMART.NODEs™
Sydney NSW, Australia

NEXT STORY: DOJ Sideswipes Mayors Gathering With Immigration Subpoena Threat

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.