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New database project can help locate 'problematic hot spots' for Idaho landslides

A new statewide inventory of landslides has been released by the Idaho Geological Survey and can help locate landslide hot spots.

MOSCOW, Idaho — The Idaho Geological Survey (IGS), a special program in the University of Idaho's Office of Research and Economic Development, is helping the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and emergency managers figure out where future landslides might occur. 

A new statewide inventory of landslides has been released by IGS that will help emergency managers and planners identify "problematic hot spots."

The inventory contains more than 2,400 landslide entries ranging from prehistoric to current. Data were collected from archives, unpublished field observations, satellite images and newly mapped landslides. 

ITD also incorporated the data in highway plans. It can be accessed through an interactive web map service on the IGS website. 

 "The study represents a live catalog of mass movements across the state with a particular focus on transportation corridors and urban areas," said Claudio Berti, state geologist and IGS director. "The database is a tool for documenting and assessing slope stability hazards. It is not intended to predict future events, but to document known events and show broad patterns of occurrence." 

The new database serves as a replacement for a static map published in 1991, which is no longer suitable for modern digital analyses.

Landslide problem areas in Idaho include: 

  • Bonners Ferry
  • Clearwater River Basin
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Boise Foothills
  • Hagerman
  • U.S. 95 between Pollock and Lucile
  • Highway 26 between Swan Valley and the Wyoming border

ITD sponsored the project and is planning to use the information for future planning purposes. 

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