The Oso Washington landslide brought down three times the volume of mud, as there is concrete in Hoover Dam, in a sudden torrent, creating a one-square-mile path of destruction. Just think about that…hard to fathom.
With landslides there is no warning and it happens in the blink of an eye. Those in the path have no time to react. One official estimated a total volume of 15 million cubic yards of earth, or the equivalent of about three million dump truck loads.
The human impact is numbing and the numbers are devastating: 16 bodies have been recovered so far, with eight more people believed to have been located in the debris but not recovered. There are reports of 176 people unaccounted for who may have been in the area and 49 homes destroyed. Officials have yet to release the names of the dead.
There is a very good video on the NYT Science website explaining the science of mudslides and a bit of history. Worth two minutes. http://tiny.cc/sy2bdx