USGS Geologist Doubts Cause Of Oso Landslide Will Ever Be Pinned Down
By Tom Banse
A federal geologist doubts the cause of the deadly landslide near Oso, Washington will ever be fully pinned down. During testimony in Olympia Monday, USGS scientist Jonathan Godt said heavy rains in February and March certainly contributed to the slide. Geologists have also ruled out an earthquake as a trigger. But Godt says a big missing piece is groundwater flows, for which there's no data.
Jonathan Godt: "We didn't have instruments in the ground at the time the landslide occurred and you can't put the slide back up on the slope. So from an observational standpoint, that opportunity is lost."
Godt spoke to a state panel which is reexamining logging rules around landslide prone areas. A Washington state geologist and a private consulting geologist also presented there. None would speculate if historic clear-cuts had anything to do with the March landslide.
Investigators are asking for more money from FEMA to probe why the Oso landslide traveled so far from its origin.
Photo: Courtesy of Washington Governor's Office, file photo of Oso landslide.