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.
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.”
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.