2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-4:45 PM

The Kentucky Geological Survey's Landslide Initiative

CRAWFORD, Matthew M., Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, 228 Mining and Mineral Resources Building, Lexington, KY 40506 and ANDREWS Jr., William, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, 228 Mining & Mineral Resources Bldg, Lexington, KY 40506-0107, mcrawford@uky.edu

Recent surficial geologic mapping in Kentucky has driven a landslide inventory for the state. Steep topography, local geology, varying thicknesses of surficial materials, and coal mining are among many geologic attributes that can contribute to high landslide susceptibility in many parts of Kentucky. Heavy precipitation, drought, or other triggers can initiate landslides in various forms, which can damage critical infrastructure, businesses, and homes. Landslides are commonly viewed as unpredictable, but knowledge of ground conditions (topography, geology, drainage) combined with well-planned construction can reduce exposure to the hazard and help reduce landslide-related losses.

Landslides, large and small, are common occurrences in eastern and northern Kentucky; many go unreported. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has documented over 3,000 landslides and rockfalls having an impact on or threatening Kentucky highways, leading to major ongoing maintenance costs in those areas. The cabinet has spent $44 million on landslide remediation since 1998, and has nearly $70 million in projects planned over the next 6 years.

Early stages of inventory include landslide data collection, field verification, and organization of a landslide database. Current and historical landslides tied with cost will be a major focus of the data collection. Sources of data come from preexisting maps, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Division of Natural Resources, and anecdotal information. Much of the inventory process will be efficient because of the Kentucky Geological Survey's online Field Data Entry Tool. Known landslide locations and current field observations, along with descriptions and pictures are able to be quickly cataloged using an online system, keeping the data in one place.