Image: Landslide and Barrier Lake near Oso, Washington

March 27, 2014
Image acquired March 23, 2014.

On March 22, 2014, a rainfall-triggered landslide near Oso, Washington, sent muddy debris spilling across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. The debris swamped numerous homes, resulting in the deaths of at least 24 people, according to news reports. As of March 25, dozens of people were still missing.

The created an earthen dam that blocked the river, causing a barrier lake to form. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image of landslide and the on March 23, 2014. An image of the same area on January 18 is shown for comparison. Turn the comparison tool on to see how the landscape changed. To see aerial views of the landslide, read this blog post.

As water backed up, local authorities expressed concerns about a potential flash flood. On March 23, water began to flow around the north side of the dam. On March 26, a National Weather Service flood warning remained in effect for areas on the Stillaguamish River east of the blockage.

Acquired January 18, 2014

According to Durham University geologist Dave Petley, the landslide was a reactivation of an earlier landslide that caused problems in 1988 and 2006. The Seattle Times has reported that retired US. Geological Survey geologist Daniel Miller warned the hillside had the "potential for a large catastrophic failure" in a report filed with U.S. Corp of Engineers in 1999.

Explore further: Evidence of ancient lake in California's Eel River emerges

Related Stories

Evidence of ancient lake in California's Eel River emerges

November 14, 2011

A catastrophic landslide 22,500 years ago dammed the upper reaches of northern California's Eel River, forming a 30-mile-long lake, which has since disappeared, and leaving a living legacy found today in the genes of the ...

A day after Wash. landslide, examinations continue

March 28, 2013

Authorities are assessing the damage and danger from a massive landslide on a scenic Washington state island as nervous residents wait for more detailed information about how safe the area is.

Japan tsunami exacerbated by landslide

December 18, 2013

The 2011 Japan tsunami, which killed up to 20,000 people and caused the partial meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant, was made worse by an underwater landslide, according to scientists.

Recommended for you

'Snowball earth' might be slushy

August 3, 2015

Imagine a world without liquid water—just solid ice in all directions. It would certainly not be a place that most life forms would like to live.

Drought's lasting impact on forests

July 30, 2015

In the virtual worlds of climate modeling, forests and other vegetation are assumed to bounce back quickly from extreme drought. But that assumption is far off the mark, according to a new study of drought impacts at forest ...

Playing 'tag' with pollution lets scientists see who's 'it'

July 29, 2015

Using a climate model that can tag sources of soot from different global regions and can track where it lands on the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have determined which areas around the plateau contribute the most soot—and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.