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Rattlesnake Ridge Slide Is Hard To Predict For Geologists


A view of Rattlesnake Ridge near the town of Union Gap, Washington. Geologists say fissures in the hillside will likely cause a landslide.

A view of Rattlesnake Ridge near the town of Union Gap, Washington. Geologists say fissures in the hillside will likely cause a landslide.

Courtesy of Steven Mack

After huge cracks appeared on Rattlesnake Ridge last year, geologists expect a landslide is coming at the mountain near Yakima, Washington. But they are having a hard time nailing down just when it will go.

Trevor Contreras is a hazards geologist for Washington State Department of Natural Resources. At a press conference Friday, he said the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide is moving about 3 inches per day — about 1.7 feet per week.

But since that movement is so consistent, it creates a weird problem for those watching the slide. There aren’t many clues as to when the slide might totally let go. 


“It’s not speeding up, it’s not accelerating,” Contreras said. “Because it’s not accelerating — and going such a constant rate — we are projecting that the main event window is hard to determine.”

Contreras said they thought the event would happen from mid-January to mid-March, but now they might push that timeframe out.

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