March 28, 2010
Part of the 2010 Public Lecture Series


Earth and Environmental Sciences

Landslides and avalanches generate seismic waves just like earthquakes, and we can use the tools of earthquake seismology to detect and locate these potentially disastrous events, sometimes sooner than communications reach the outside world. Last year’s devastating typhoon Morakot triggered several massive landslides on Taiwan, some of which involved more than 10,000 tons of rock and mud avalanching at speeds of 100 mph down mountain slopes. We are gaining new insights into these events by studying their seismic signatures.