A walk on an active Landslide

Feeling kinda bored on a Saturday afternoon, not much going on so we start looking for fun. Maybe a local adventure since work has us stuck here in Los Angeles! Then it hits us…There is this freaky active landslide happening in Santa Clarita Just up the road a bit. The experts are stumped as to why the ground is moving. There hasn’t been any rain to saturate the soil so you can count out water as the cause. There hasn’t been any seismic activity, so can’t blame earthquakes. Tons of soil have already been displaced and the road has risen over 4.5 meters. There is some serious buckling on the black top that was once a road. We definitely should grab our coats and drive over and take a look! Better yet, let’s go walk right over it! Oh… and let’s do it while on Periscope and take all our followers with us! Ok, in all honesty it might have been just a little reckless and a little crazy. But like every adventure in life, you just gotta go for it sometimes. And while this is an active unexplained landslide, it’s moving pretty slow.
 landslide4   landslide5
We drove out to Vasquez Canyon road and parked right around the road block. We were amazed to see that the hill was sporting some pretty serious cracks. The road itself was raised and twisted as though some giant hand had reached down and crushed it. Once you actually look at the cracks in the road you come to see that it broke through two layers of road. I am not sure if the bottom layer was a concrete foundation or perhaps an old road that was paved over but the pressure from all the dirt coming down just cracked and buckled it as though it were made of cake. It was exciting and scary to look at the separations in the hillside. You could see that the soil was very dry, maybe a mixture of sand and clay. The rocks looked a little like brittle shale. They just broke off in square pieces. The area had recently been hit with graffiti. This is L.A. county after all and here one mans graffiti is another mans street art.
Ilandslide7   landslide6
The hill above was definitely coming down. Taking a closer look at the hillside from the south showed just how deep the cracks were into the hill. This was tons and tons of dirt and rock making its way down to the road below. I think in a few days the road might make its way to the bottom of that canyon. Thankfully today wasn’t that day.
So what exactly is causing this hill to come down? There is a whole lot of speculation and a few theories going around. I am not a geologists so I’m going to just enjoy this act of nature and leave the why to the guys who get the big bucks for figuring it all out. There are some amazing online videos of drones flying over the area. AGU blogosphere have some at their site. There are also a few videos you can find online taken by skateboarders and guys jumping bikes over the fractured road. Nature is pretty awesome, and doesn’t really ask permission to act. I guess that’s what makes events like this so exciting and also dangerous. The road is closed to traffic and they are asking people to stay out of the slide area as a precaution. That said there were plenty of us there checking out this awesome moment in time. Call us curious thrill seekers, dangerous dumbasses or just bored locals, I am happy that I went. We live in crazy times. Sometimes it feels as though the world today is as unstable as that crumbling hill. It feels like there are more questions than answers to the problems we face. When you think about it, living life today is very much like taking a walk on an active landslide. Anything can happen and only some of it in our control. We could choose to safely watch it on television or read about it in a newspaper. But that doesn’t sound like living to me. I prefer to calculate the risks and then take the adventure.
We don’t live all that far from the Vasquez Canyon Road so I hope that we get to check it out again soon. The real bonus for me this trip was to be able to invite a few hundred people to join us via Periscope and share the experience. If you haven’t been on Periscope yet, then your missing out on a great new app and many great new adventures. Imagine seeing the world through someone else’s eyes for a few minutes. You already have a friend there just look for me on Periscope @bobozmom
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