Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Department name when degree awarded


Committee Chair(s)

James McCalpin


James McCalpin


Peter Kolesar


W. David Liddell


Charles Romesburg


Jane Post


The distribution of landslide type and age was analyzed to determine the causes and timing of landsliding, and to assess landslide hazards in the study area. 1173 landslides and zones of landsliding were mapped on 1:15,840 scale air photos and designated by their style of movement and age. Slides were assigned to one of four age classes based on their degree of morphologic modification visible on air photos. Relative dating (RD) methods previously applied to glacial deposits were used to refine and calibrate the age classification.

Eleven RD para meters were measured on 21 rockslide and 19 glacial deposits. Cluster analyses were run on the RD data set. Slides assigned to Age-Classes 4, 3+, and 2 tend to cluster with probable Pinedale, early Holocene, and Neoglacial-age moraines respectively. Cluster analyses indicate poor age resolution by the RD method from approximately early Altithermal to early Neoglacial time. Landslide age cannot be resolved in this study to a finer degree by the RD method than by the morphologic (air -photo) method. However, cluster analyses generally confirm age assignments and absolute age estimates of the four landslide age classes, despite limitations of the RD method such as boulder spalling, and variations in lithology, deposit type, and elevation/climate between sampled deposits.

The temporal distribution of landslides indicates that mass movements may have occurred rather uniformly throughout Holocene time, with slightly higher rates of sliding during post-Altithermal time due to climatic effects associated with Neoglacial advances.

Spatial analyses indicate that landslides cover 73% of the Cretaceous section. Development, such as logging and road construction, could trigger landsliding in the Cretaceous section.

Landslides account for 15% and 10% of the outcrop areas of the Paleozoic and Triassic-Jurassic sections respectively. Debris flows and slump-earth flows dominate sliding in both sections, with minor numbers of rockslides present. Debris flows pose the greatest hazard in both sections. Fine-grained stratigraphic units have the highest landslide densities in both sections. The previous event locations define areas most susceptible to future sliding.



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