Snowmelt and rainfall events triggered many landslides and debris flows in the Seattle, Washington, area during late December 1996 and January and March 1997. Landslides caused the deaths of at least four people, millions of dollars in damage to public and private property, lost revenues, traffic diversions, and other direct and indirect losses. Although shallow slides and debris flows were the most common slope failures, many deep-seated slides also occurred. Comparing maps that show distribution of historic landslides with reports of landslides compiled by city and county governments for the winter of 1996-97 and our field reconnaissance of recent landslide deposits and scars indicates that many bluffs and steep hillsides are sites of recurring failures. Investigation of the 1996-97 landslides indicates that houses and other structures built downslope from steep bluffs are in particular danger of impact by debris flows, while those on the benches, slopes, or rim of bluffs are subject to severe damage by deep slides.
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Landslides triggered by the winter 1996-97 storms in the Puget Lowland, Washington
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