The Rattlesnake Ridge slow landslide near Yakima, Washington, is still moving at about a foot-and-one-half a week but there’s very little media coverage. And geologists cannot say for certain when it will accelerate into a catastrophe. And they are powerless to stop it.

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A section of Rattlesnake Ridge, moving at about two inches a day, has opened a visible crack in the south central Washington landscape. Credit Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

The fissure was first spotted in October on Rattlesnake Ridge in south central Washington State, overlooking Interstate 82 and the Yakima River. Since then, a 20-acre chunk of mountainside — roughly four million cubic yards of rock, enough to fill 25 football stadiums to the top of the bleachers, eight stories up — has been sliding downhill. Geologists can measure its current speed — about two and a half inches a day — but they cannot say for certain when, or if, it might accelerate into a catastrophe. And they are powerless to stop it.

Here one of the latest video showing the evolution of the crack between January 2018 and April 2018:

The mountain is moving, and at some point this slide will happen — it’s just a matter of when,” said Arlene Fisher-Maurer, the city manager in Union Gap, population about 7,000, just north of the ridge.

So we wait and see and prepare,” said Ms. Fisher-Maurer, who keeps a police scanner on her desk for alerts. “The preparation has been key, and I think it’s going to do us well.

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The authorities have closed a section of Thorp Road, which runs along the base of the ridge beneath the fissure. Credit Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

Thanks to Charlene Emerson for sending me the video link of a friend of her, who lives right in Yakima, just below this crumbling mountain.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I used to go with my Dad and his WW2 surplus jeep to play on this mountain. We never saw a rattle or any other kind of snake.

    • Having trained at the Yakima Training Center as an Army soldier, I can tell you there are Rattle Snakes in that arid Yakima desert and its surrounding.

  2. …when and if it becomes a catastrophe. Because experts have said repeatedly it won’t. I might do a little bit more research next time before fear mongering.

  3. “Rattlesnake” represent reptilians = serpent people = vampires.
    There are many places where reptilians gathers such as Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia Alabama.
    There is also “The Capitol City of Rattlesnake” Wikieup, Arizona.

  4. I would like to know what type of strip mine that appears to be in the video at the base of the slide area?. Did this activity contribute to the slide?

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