Seismic signals chronicle deadly landslide

By Erin Wayman, 13:46 PM April 3, 2014

At 10:37 a.m. local time on March 22, as much as 5 million cubic meters of sediment slid down a hillside outside Oso, Wash., killing dozens and damming a stretch of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. The debris scraping and bouncing downhill generated seismic waves like those unleashed during an earthquake.

The pattern of these ground vibrations, recorded at regional seismic stations, allowed geologists to decipher the landslide’s sequence of events. The stations first detected a rough...

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