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AGS Landslide Database Helps ADOT Plan 1-17 Expansion

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Monday, August 19, 2019 - 10:15am
Updated: Monday, August 19, 2019 - 1:52pm

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An online database created by the Arizona Geological Survey (AGS) is helping experts monitor and plan for landslides across the state.

Arizona Geological Survey.
Ancient landslide deposits along I-17 between Black Canyon City and Bumble Bee, north of Phoenix.

The database combines existing data with Google Earth imagery and elevation information to identify past and potential mudslides, rockslides and other mass wasting events.

AGS research geologist Joe Cook said a number of landslides that damaged highways and populated areas, including the 2013 U.S. Highway 89 landslide that cost $25 million and took two years to fix, showed the state needed something more than scattered maps and reports.

"So at least then you know where these hazards are," Cook said. "And if you're building a new road or a new subdivision, you can be aware of what's around there that you might have to be worried about or mitigate in some way."

The Arizona Department of Transportation is using the database to plan the I-17 expansion near Black Canyon City, a known landslide region.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program funded the creation of the database. The program seeks to help governments implement programs to mitigate natural disasters and reduce the need for federal funding if they occur.

To view the landslide data, visit the Natural Hazards in Arizona map and select the landslide filter.