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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, March 5, 2003

Survey Releases Map of Atchison-area Landslide Potential

LAWRENCE--With its steep slopes, high average rainfall, and increasing urbanization, northeastern Kansas has the potential for more damaging landslides than most other areas of the state.

A new map, available from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, shows the likelihood of landslides in the area around Atchison in the state's northeastern corner.

The new map shows that the probability for landslides is relatively high along the steep bluffs that line the Missouri River. But some areas away from the Missouri River are also susceptible to landslides, especially in the hills and drainages such as Deer Creek, Whiskey Creek, and Walnut Creek.

"Landslides are more likely to occur in areas where the land is steep, as in the bluffs and hilly terrain along the Missouri River," said Survey geologist Gregory Ohlmacher, one of the map's authors.

In addition to steepness, other factors that affect landslides are the moisture content of the soil and the nature of the bedrock, which is commonly composed of limestone or shale in the Atchison area.

The map shows areas where the long-term likelihood of a landslide (in the next few thousand years, say) is ten percent or greater. However, the majority of the mapped area has a relatively low probability of experiencing a landslide.

Knowledge of an area's susceptibility to landslides is important in planning and construction.

The Atchison study is a part of a more general study of landslides in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Landslides in the 1990s damaged homes in Johnson and Douglas counties in northeastern Kansas, for example.

The new landslide-hazard map of the Atchison area is available from the Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence 66047 (785-864-3965). The cost is $15, plus $4.00 for shipping and handling. Kansas residents should add 7.3% sales tax to the amount of the entire order.

Links of interest to this article:
Landslides in Kansas

Story by Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-2106
For more information, contact Gregory Ohlmacher, (785) 864-5317

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach