"Its a geology slide" - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 10-05-2007, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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"Its a geology slide"

Every homeowner on the street should be shitting bullets.
In most likelihood, the city will be sued and the bill will show up in the tax payers lap givn how Cali is run nowadays.

“I always knew it was going to happen again.”
24.com Blogs

One La Jolla home destroyed,
several damaged in Mt. Soledad slide

2:47 p.m. October 3, 2007

SAN DIEGO – A La Jolla hillside collapsed Wednesday morning, buckling a four-lane road, destroying one home and prompting evacuation of nearly two dozen others.

The slide, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. on Mount Soledad, knocked down power lines and caused a minor gas leak. Police officers and firefighters went door-to-door evacuating residents, finding just a handful at home.

City officials said they had been monitoring the area for weeks because of geological instability, including cracked paving on Soledad Mountain Road that residents first reported in July.
The area affected is on the east side of Soledad Mountain Road, between Desert View Drive and Palomino Circle, a neighborhood where home values exceed $1 million.

On Tuesday night, city officials delivered letters to four residences in the 5600 and 5700 block of Soledad Mountain Road and warned residents not to sleep in their homes “effective immediately” because of soil instability.

“As you are aware, the city of San Diego has been investigating what appears to be natural instability of soils under city property near your home,” Hawk said in the letter.
The landslide cracked and buckled a 200-foot stretch of Soledad Mountain Road, which was closed indefinitely from Palomino Circle on the north to Desert View Drive on the south. (The two streets form one street that loops off of and runs downhill from Soledad Mountain Road.)

Ross Clark, whose home on Desert View Drive was one of at least four directly downhill from the shifting hillside, said the slide occurred shortly before 9 a.m.
“I heard the fence starting to crack. I heard a tree coming down. We grabbed the dogs and ran,” he said, adding that he and his wife returned a short time later.

“It moved a humongous amount, in the order of tens of feet,” said Rupert Adams, supervising geologist for the Carlsbad firm Helenschmidt Geotechnical.

His firm was hired to measure what was expected to be the gradual shifting of the hillside and to figure out how to fix it. The luxury of time has now vanished.
Firefighters, police converge

Joseph Kazanchi said his parents' home on Soledad Mountain Road was one of the four homes where residents were warned to evacuate Tuesday night. He said he and his sister packed up some of the family's possessions and parked cars in different locations away from the home.

Joseph Kazanchi said his parents bought the house in the 1980s and had recently renovated it. They were on a trip to Turkey but were already making plans to come home after hearing about what happened.

The hillside has been slowly slipping for years due to the natural instability of the soil, with slide incidents there dating to the 1960s.
But the slippage accelerated in recent months, Hawk said, causing cracks in streets, alleyways and water lines. He noted the area was developed about 50 years ago.
Hawk said such factors as water seepage from pipes or past storm damage do not appear to have played a role in the collapse.

“This looks like a geology slide,” Hawk said.

As a precaution, Hawk said, water crews in recent weeks removed water lines from beneath Soledad Mountain Road, replacing them with temporary lines atop the pavement.

City officials have discussed options for federal aid with Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Carlsbad and Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sanders said. The mayor also has a conference call scheduled for Thursday with Department of Transportation officials.

Sanders said he was told late Tuesday that nearby homes would have to be “red-tagged” Wednesday – meaning experts had determined they could no longer be inhabited.

He refused to speculate on the cause of the slide and said it was improper for anyone else to do so.

Moments before a scheduled 10:30 a.m. news conference, Aguirre stepped before microphones and said there was no immediate threat from the slide. He also said he had his office's investigators looking into the collapse and that water crews had been working in the area in recent weeks.

Sanders said it would be “irresponsible for any city official to make an estimate on what caused it.”

Residents said they wondered if city water line leaks caused – or at least worsened – the slide, but San Diego's water director, Jim Barrett, said that was highly doubtful.

“We did have a leak up that area about two weeks ago, three weeks ago. It was a service (line) leak. There wasn't a lot of water involved,” he said. “That water would have been superficial.

“It looks like the slip plane is much deeper in the ground, and it would have taken a larger amount of water to percolate down that far to actually contribute.”

Barrett cautioned, however, that his assessment was preliminary, as the city's investigation is continuing.

Aguirre later announced he had scheduled a community forum for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the La Jolla Recreation Center to discuss the collapse and give residents a chance to ask questions of representatives of his office.

Weather does not appear to be involved in the slide, said Jim Purpura, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Rancho Bernardo office. It's been 2½ years since a major rainstorm hit the area.

A strong storm could worsen conditions at the slide, but Purpura said there's no sign of any significant rain in the near future.
Geologist: Nature to blame

Pat Abbott, a retired geological sciences professor at San Diego State University, said nature – not man – should be blamed for the slide.

Abbott said Mt. Soledad was formed when mud sediment layers on the ocean floor were “squeezed up” by the Rose Canyon fault, leaving weak rock layers at an incline.

“Gravity pulling on the incline is pulling down masses of earth and those masses of earth have houses on top of them,” Abbott said. “It's a geologically bad site and should not have been built on to begin with.

“The fundamental fault is nature,” he said. “It is not the city. It is not a trench. . . . The water pipes that are breaking are breaking because bad earth is moving under gravity, under natural conditions.

“It's fundamentally houses built on a bad site.”

In fact, the area experienced a collapse in 1961 when seven homes under construction were destroyed.

Rosemary and George Fraunces, who have lived on the street since 1994, were headed to their home when they found police officers blocking the street.

Fraunces said she was concerned for the residents who lived in the slide area. “I think the land we are on is all right,” she said. “If we need to leave, we will.”

Lillie Nelson said she was living in the area when the slide occurred in 1961.

“I went through all this in 1961. I remember it like it was yesterday,” Nelson said.

“I always knew it was going to happen again.”

Slides from the past

In 1961, a landslide flattened seven houses and severely damaged another in Mount Soledad, where a hillside collapsed Wednesday. Here are some of the landslides that have done harm to San Diego homes over the last 20 years.

March 2005 – Carlsbad: A landslide caused by problematic pipes ruined eight condos, resulting in a large settlement between the city and condo owners.

February 2005 – Mount Soledad, La Jolla, Carlsbad, Oceanside: Heavy rains caused widespread mudslides, sinkholes and flooding. Countywide, 16 homes were red-tagged as uninhabitable.

January 2005 – Oceanside: Landslide forced six homes to be evacuated, one of which was condemned.

June 1996 – Encinitas: Sea erosion caused the den of an Encinitas home to break away and slide down the cliff. Residents of eight homes were asked to evacuate.

1994 – Mount Soledad: Landslide damage in a canyon below homes on Desert View Drive was repaired by residents.
Summer 1995 - March 1998 – Del Cerro: The backyards of two houses started slipping down the hillside, due to a storm drain running between the houses. The city purchased the homes (along with two others) and later tore them down, following heavy rains in 1998.

March 1992 – Spring Valley: Mudslide forced three homes to be evacuated.
February 1990 – Cowles Mountain: Storms caused a mudslide, which flooded a home, causing over $14,000 worth of damage.
April, 1989 – Encinitas: Spurred by the collapse of a sea wall and injuries to three workers who fell down the face of a Leucadia bluff, city officials held an emergency meeting to try to save several homes threatened by the sheared-off bluff.

1989 – Mount Soledad: Construction of a new home started a slide on Desert View Drive.
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