Landslide Prone Areas

Landsliding is a common hazard in the Appalachian Plateau Province and has a high susceptibility rating in Fayette County. The term is generally understood to include slope movements, involving: 

  • Falls
  • Flows and Avalanches
  • Slides Where Shear Failure Occurs Along a Specific Surface or Combination of Surfaces
  • Spreads
  • Topples

This area is recognized as one of the major areas of landslide susceptibility and severity within the United States. The Native American Indians named the Monongahela River which means "the river with the sliding banks".


Fill slides are particularly common as a result of steep slopes (above 15%), weak rock strata, abundant colluvium, and a large number of springs. The problems are compounded by coal mining and related spoil piles and by refuse placement. Non-engineered fills, poor fill placement, and compaction are responsible for many landslides. 


The result is damage to property and structures, damage to utilities, and continuing maintenance problems on our roads and transportation systems. 


The solution is the utilization of proven technology including knowledge of both the geological features and the engineering characteristics of the slope in question. If these are understood and the economics can be justified, proper design and construction procedures can be implemented. Most problems result from failure to apply existing knowledge.