A geologic hazard is an extreme natural event in the crust of the earth, like a sinkhole or landslide.
A sinkhole is a hole in the ground that forms when water dissolves surface rock. Typically, sinkholes form so slowly that little change is noticeable, but they can form suddenly when a collapse occurs. The collapse often happens suddenly and without warning.
A landslide is the movement of rock, earth, or debris down a sloped section of land. They tend to occur after heavy rainfall, and tend to happen in areas where they have occurred before.
Landslides are also called mudslides, debris flows, mudflows, or debris avalanches.
Sinkholes and landslides can occur in every state and can cause significant damage.
Before a Geologic Hazard
There are things you can do to prepare in advance for landslides or sinkholes:
Build an emergency kit. Keep one in your family car in case of hazards on the road, and one at home in case of a landslide evacuation.
Have a backup communications plan in place. Know how you will contact friends and family and reconnect if separated.
If you know you live in an area with landslides, have an evacuation route planned.
Talk with your family about what geologic hazards are common in your area. Become familiar with the land around you.
During a Landslide
If you suspect a landslide is about to occur:
Evacuate immediately if you are in a landslide path.
Listen for sounds of moving debris, cracking trees, or moving rocks. If you get stuck in the path of a landslide move uphill as quickly as possible.
If you are near a stream or channel and the water turns muddy or changes in flow speed, it may indicate debris flow upstream. These can be signs that a landslide is coming and that you should evacuate the area.