Landslides occur when masses of rock, earth or debris move down a slope. Slides may be small or very large, and can move at either slow or high speeds. There are many underlying causes of landslides, including storms, fires, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. In addition, slides may occur due to the weakening of rock and soil through saturation by snowmelt or heavy rains. Excess weight from the accumulation of rain or snow, stockpiling of rock or ore or waste piles can also allow the force of gravity to activate a landslide. Man-made structures may put such a degree of stress on a weak slope that it reaches the failure point, creating a landslide.
Slope materials that become saturated with water may develop a debris or mud flow. The resulting slurry of rock and mud may pick up trees, houses, and cars, thus blocking bridges and tributaries causing flooding along its path.
Due to the nature of our terrain, landslides can occur nearly anywhere in Eagle County. Any area composed of very weak or fractured materials resting on a steep slope can, and probably will eventually, experience a landslide.