Monday, July 26, 2021

Landslides in Ye Olde Pueblo

Yesterday morning was pretty weird.  It had been raining, hard at times.  Then it let up.  Then we heard rumbling.  I asked Jim if he thought it was thunder, then we decided not.  I looked out the front window at Golden Gate and this is what I saw.  See the lower cloud-ish looking area, below the actual clouds on the top of the mountain?  That's dust, it's from a land slide.  At the top of the mountain, something fairly large let go and headed down hill.

The arrows are pointing at two of the boulders that came down.  It was surreal how much noise it made. 

A lot of dirt came down, and many saguaros lost their lives today.  It's very sad, some of them are over 100 years old, and now they are dead.

So, this was before.

And this is after.  It's a subtle change.  The next photo is better.

Look at where the white arrow is pointing.  The arrow is difficult to see because picassa would not let me bold it for some reason.  It's at the top of the photo.  Anyway, see the flat shiny surface?  That used to be a good sized rock jutting out.  Now it's gone.

Remember I mentioned that in the past Tucson had used major thoroughfares to carry water, instead of putting in storm drains?  I guess the thinking was that the major dry rivers would handle the rainfall in a bad year.  That was true until fall of 1983.  I was in school here then.  The previous winter had been wet, monsoon 1983 was very wet, so the ground was saturated.  Then tropical depression Octave came and rained from September 28 until October 3.  The airport got 6.7 inches of water in that period.  There was massive flooding and bank erosion in the river beds.  Houses fell in to the water, and I think 10 people were killed.  In today's dollars, damage was about a billion.  After that, Tucson got serious about water management.

Here you can see bridges have been removed by severe bank cutting.

This is the Santa Cruz River, which normally is dry.

More washed out bridge.

There are a couple of old articles about 1983 that are interesting.  There is one here and here.

Blogger is getting weirder on me, so I think I will publish this while I can.  Some days the software will just not cooperate, no way - no how.


  1. You can see how the slopes have built up with landslides over many years

  2. Landslides are scary. They just all of a sudden let go. So far the retention pond in our park in AJ is doing its job. Whoever designed that park really did a smart job. Hard to think of Tucson flooding like that.

  3. Too bad about the saguaros.
    That was quite a monsoon season in 1983!

  4. That was a serious amount of earth coming down the mountain!

  5. It's amazing what water can do. Snow is the same. I've always wondered about the slur of calling someone a snowflake. These people have never seen what a lot of snowflakes can do. It's impressive.

    Stay safe.

  6. Wow, that Landslide was fairly catastrophic, good thing they didn't allow Homes to be built on that Mountainside. Here in Phoenix damned near every Mountain has the Manses built on or around them. I've seen Saguaro tipped over Today from all our Rain, we're getting more in a half hour per Monsoon Storm this Year than we usually get all Year, so lots of flooding and the Desert Plants aren't handling it well, Trees are tipping over too. I remember in the 1970's and 1980's we'd always get the bridges washed out every Monsoon season, except the Old Mill Avenue Bridge which was probably 100 Years Old, they never built the new Bridges long enough. Haven't seen the Rivers running Bank to Bank in Decades now, but this could be the Year they do again?

  7. water is a powerful force. landslides too. nature wipes out in a blink what it takes months for humans to build.

  8. Yikes. So the question is, is this a natural occurrence that would have taken place anyway, or is it climate change-related? Like, the landscape reacting to more than usual amounts of sudden rainfall, or something like that? It's probably difficult to know.

  9. Nature has her own mind, and we'd best heed her wishes! That landslide is crazy!