Chapter 13: Unsafe Ground: Landslides and Other Mass Movements flashcards |

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angle of repose

The angle of the steepest slope that a pile of uncemented material can attain without collapsing from the pull of gravity.


A turbulent cloud of debris mixed with air that rushes down a steep hill slope at high velocity; the debris can be rock and/or snow.


The gradual downslope movement of regolith.

debris fall

A sudden collapse of disaggregated material on a steep slope.

debris flow

A downslope movement of mud mixed with larger rock fragments.

debris slide

A sudden downslope movement of material consisting only of regolith.

failure surface

The detachment or sliding horizon on which downslope movement of rock or debris occurs.

head scarp

The distinct step along the upslope edge of a slump where the regolith detached.


A thick slurry formed when volcanic ash and debris mix with water, either in rivers or from rain or melting snow and ice on the flank of a volcano.


A sudden movement of rock and debris down a nonvertical slope.


The transformation of seemingly solid sediment into a liquid-like slurry, in response to ground shaking.

mass movement

The gravitationally caused downslope transport of rock, regolith, snow, or ice.


A downslope movement of mud at slow to moderate speed.

natural hazard

A situation or setting caused by natural processes that can result in damage to society.


A sudden collapse of bedrock down a steep slope.

rock slide

A sudden downslope movement of rock.


Downslope movement in which a mass of regolith detaches from its substrate along a spoon-shaped sliding surface and slips downward semicoherently.


The type of creep characteristic of tundra regions; during the summer, the uppermost layer of permafrost melts, and the soggy, weak layer of ground then flows slowly downslope in overlapping sheets.

talus arpon

A wedge-shaped pile of rock fragments that accumulates at the base of a cliff.


Excavation at the base of a slope that results in the formation of an overhang.

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