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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Jan. 18, 2005

Survey Releases Landslide Maps for Area West of Leavenworth

LAWRENCE--Two maps, one showing the location of past landslides and the other showing where conditions are most favorable for future landslides, are now available for an area west of Leavenworth.

Both maps, which cover a portion of northeast Jefferson County and northwest Leavenworth County including the town of Easton, are produced by the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas.

Landslides in the Easton area occur mainly on steep slopes along Stranger Creek and its tributaries and along tributaries of the nearby Missouri River. They may also be associated with quarries and road cuts.

The landslide-inventory map shows where landslides have already occurred. Recent landslides are identified separately from older ones that are dormant but could be reactivated by a change in conditions, such as a marked increase in precipitation. Rock-fall hazards along cliffs are also marked.

Most landslides in this mainly rural region have been caused by saturated soil. However, improper construction activities along steep, scenic slopes could increase the potential for hazardous situations with costly results.

"There have been a number of past landslides in northeast Kansas, including one in 1995 that destroyed two homes in Johnson County," said Survey geologist Gregory Ohlmacher, one of the maps' authors. "Others have damaged homes and closed roads."

The landslide-hazard map indicates where such landslides are likeliest to appear. It shows the probability of a landslide in any given location, ranging from near zero in areas away from creeks and quarries to a greater than a one in 10 chance on steep bluffs.

Landslide maps are a good starting point for site planning, Ohlmacher said. "They are primarily used as a guideline for planners, developers, and engineers to give them a feeling about existing conditions in the area before they start a site investigation."

The two maps are part of a larger study of metropolitan Kansas City and surrounding areas, including Atchison, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, and parts of Douglas counties. Currently, maps depicting the cities of Atchison and Leavenworth also are available.

Copies of the landslide-inventory map and the landslide-hazard map of the Easton Quadrangles are available from the Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047 (phone 785-864-3965 or e-mail The cost for each map is $15. Shipping and handling are $4 for one map and $5 for two. Kansas residents should call for specific sales tax to be charged.

Story by Cathy Evans, (785) 864-2195

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach