Wash. landslide shifted massive amount of earth

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm •  Published: March 28, 2013
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COUPEVILLE, Wash. (AP) — Twenty properties on a scenic island hillside were damaged by the massive landslide in Washington state that displaced 200,000 cubic yards of earth, or about 40,000 dump truck loads, officials said Thursday.

Not all the affected properties suffered structural damage — some lost portions of their yards, said Christopher Schwarzen, a Snohomish County spokesman drafted to assist Island County.

Thirty-five homes were initially evacuated after Wednesday's slide on Whidbey Island, 50 miles north of Seattle. One home was destroyed, and four homes remained under evacuation orders Thursday night. No one was injured.

Geologists from the state Department of Natural Resources said the slide area is part of a much larger landslide complex that may date back as far as 11,000 years. The landslide into Puget Sound lifted the beach as much as 30 feet above the previous shoreline, the geologists said in a preliminary report Thursday.

The front of the landslide at the beach is about 1,100 feet long and extends about 300 feet into the sound, the report said.

While the ground continued to move Thursday, the geologists said the land will slowly try to stabilize itself.

"The chance of another catastrophic movement is low, but possible," their report said.

No damage estimates were available yet.

Authorities continued to monitor the slide and began constructing a gravel path to provide access to more than a dozen homes that were isolated when a road washed out.

The area "still has a bit of slippage here and there," said Terry Clark of the Island County Emergency Management Department. "It can be a handful of dirt to a barrel-full. It's still an active event."

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