Wet weather lead­ing to more mud slides

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

The dy­namic na­ture of the val­ley’s land­scape was on full dis­play last week as a ma­jor slide near Nacmine caught the at­ten­tion of read­ers.

Long time res­i­dent Fred Orosz no­ticed the slide on the south side of High­way 575 on the way to Nacmine, just be­yond the Com­man­der Mine site. A large por­tion of the hill had sep­a­rated and slid. He brought it to the at­ten­tion of The Mail.

He also pointed out the slide to David Eberth, re­search sci­en­tist in sed­i­men­tary ge­ol­ogy and palaeoe­col­ogy re­search at the Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum. Eberth tells The Mail th­ese ap­pear to be be­com­ing more nu­mer­ous re­cently.

“This is a pat­tern we have seen that has be­come more wide spread as we have seen over­all more mois­ture over the last few years. That is what is to be ex­pected. That is what this land­scape does,” he said.

As part of his pro­fes­sion, he A ma­jor slide near Nacmine last week demon­strates the dy­namic na­ture of the val­ley. Wet weather over the last cou­ple years con­trib­uted to more of th­ese slides through­out the val­ley. finds him­self keep­ing an eye on dif­fer­ent sites where slides ap­pear to be hap­pen­ing. One of in­ter­est is near the Mor­rin Bridge, where it has ac­tu­ally cov­ered the road on a cou­ple oc­ca­sions. An­other, he and other re­searchers are keep­ing an eye on, is near a road close to the Lit­tle Church.

“We’ve had so much mois­ture last year and the year be­fore in the spring, it just makes this stuff move,” he said.

He adds that re­cent warm weather con­trib­utes to slides. “When you are get­ting freez­ing and thaw­ing, it is the per­fect com­bi­na­tion to cre­ate th­ese glide plains in the shal­low sub­sur­face, so you are get­ting th­ese slumps ev­ery­where,” he said.

There is po­ten­tial for th­ese kinds of slumps, es­pe­cially near prop­erty, that could be of con­cern.

“This is a on­go­ing prob­lem and a real headache for the high­ways peo­ple, and I have noth­ing but re­spect for their ef­forts to deal with it,” he said.

For re­searchers, this may give the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pose items of in­ter­est.

“That has al­ways been the gate­way for us. The flood mit­i­ga­tion money the prov­ince made avail­able to a va­ri­ety of in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing ours, we were able to find a va­ri­ety of new spec­i­mens the last cou­ple years,” he said.

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