Landslides are rock and earth that move down a slope, mountain, or cliff. Landslides happen when there is a lot of water in the ground, heavy rainfall, or rapid snow melting. Landslides are caused by earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, fire, or construction. While they can happen in all 50 states, they are most common in mountains, canyons, or coastlines. There is usually little to no warning, and landslides can travel several miles while dragging debris like trees, rocks, and cars, with them.

Deadliest in World History:

• Occurred in China in 1920

• Over 675 landslides were caused by an 8.5 magnitude earthquake

• The earthquake and landslides killed over 100,000 people

• Destroyed property and buried one entire village

Deadliest in U.S. History:

• Oso mudslide

• Occurred in 2017 in Washington

• Killed 43 people and destroyed 49 homes and buildings

• Caused by the collapse of a hill


• Have a family communication plan of what to do if there is a landslide

• Know the signs of a landslide:

• Leaning trees

• Cracks in the ground

• Tilting utility poles

• Leaning decks or patios

• Water coming through the ground in new places

• Listen for unusual sounds:

• Trees crashing

• Boulders smashing


• Try to stay awake and alert during a landslide

• Move away from the path of a landslide

• If stuck, curl into a tight ball and cover your head with your hands and arms

• Avoid river valleys and low areas


• Stay away from the landslide area in case there are more slides

• Don’t touch any wires that are on the ground because they can electrocute you

• Listen to authorities for updates on where it is safe


Debris: garbage, random pieces of wood, plastic, metal

Electrocute: shock of electricity through your body that can injure or kill you

Source: FEMA: