Teaching with Mass Wasting Video

Events such as landslides and debris flows may be triggered by discrete events like an earthquake or unusual rainfall. When such events on extensive, steeper slopes are of large scale and catastrophic, they may threaten roads, bridges, villages and even entire cities. 

Can we stop such events from occurring? Are there any engineering solutions for cleaning up the aftermath? Even better, have engineers devised any means to reduce the risk of future slope failure?

Check out the videos in the Mass Wasting gallery for video examples. Below we present a series of videos and a student handout for transforming a passive viewing experience into an active learning one.

Here's a ready-to-go set of videos, and instructions to students for observation and written analyses.

Video #1. Natural Cliff Collapse

Video #1. Coastal France (Seine Maritime) was the scene of a major landslide. Nearly 30,000 tons of rock fell and spread on the beach in the town of Saint-Jouin-Bruneval.

Video #2. Engineering Approach

This trim blast removed approximately 2,158 tons of unstable rock from the mountainside that overlooks U.S.129/SR 115 in Blount County, Tennessee. It could take an estimated two more trim blasts to remove the unstable rock mass. Meanwhile crews are continuing to drill and install rock bolts in the other two areas of the rockslide repair site.

Video #3. Engineering Approach

TDOT crews are removing loose rock from a rock slope near Ye Old Steakhouse along Chapman Highway. One lane is closed while this work continues.

Video #4. Engineering Approach

A helicopter smacks down rock from a cliff to eliminate a rock fall hazard for the road below.

Video #5. Engineering Approach

Rock Stars: Meltdown on the Mountain http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/rock-stars The crew members use all their strength to move huge rocks before the company racks up traffic fines.

Video Tutorial - Mass Wasting Events and Engineering Approaches to Reducing Risk

Instructions to Student:

Read the questions below. Then watch the videos and record relevant information. Speak with your nearby buddies to discuss the questions and prepare your answers to the following instructions. 

  1. Video #1. Observe and describe events that happen IN SEQUENCE. Your instructor will play the video several times so that you can fill in details that you might miss the first time around. No formal essays here – just a quick-and-dirty bullet list will do. Record your sequence of events below.
  2. The second set of four videos presents some engineering approaches to reducing the risk of slope failure and catastrophic collapse. Consider the scale of these efforts and evaluate the degree to which they might reduce risk, in general, to people, property and roads in mountainous areas. Summarize with a brief statement about our ability, in general, to reduce the risk of slope failure.
  3. The first video demonstrates a much larger failure event. Do you think any of the engineering approaches you just watched could deal effectively with this (or other similar events at the same scale)? If so, explain. If not, what other approaches should we adopt, assuming such events WILL occur in particular areas?