Real-Time Monitoring of an Active Landslide above U.S. Highway 50, California

  • Photograph of the Mill Creek landslide that closed Highway 50 for 4 weeks. CALTRANS Photo by Lynn Harrison, 1997

During January 1997, several large landslides closed Highway 50 between Placerville and South Lake Tahoe, California. The photograph below shows the catastrophic Mill Creek landslide that closed Highway 50 for 4 weeks. A number of other landslides are episodically active in this corridor during wet years.

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Eldorado National Forest, has installed monitoring instruments on the Cleveland Corral landslide that has the potential to affect Highway 50. Data from these instruments are used to detect changes in local conditions including:

Data are collected every 15 minutes and displayed on graphs. In many landslides, infiltration of rainfall or rapid snowmelt increases groundwater pressures. These elevated pressures can, in turn, trigger landslide movement.

For More Information

Contact Information