Geologists warily watching 'huge' Washington landslide

Landslide possible in Yakima County

Joseph Dames and KOIN 6 News Staff - PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- There's a huge crack on Rattlesnake Ridge in Yakima County above I-82 in Washington that could cause a landslide of about 1 million cubic yards of rock and soil.

Govenor Jay Inslee and other Washington officials are urging about 50 people living near the slide to evacuate and prepare for what may happen.

"We want to get an independent review by an independent third-party geologist and we will do that to make sure that we have the ultimate degree of confidence in assessing the nature of this risk," Inslee said.

Portland State University geology professor Scott Burns said he's watching from Portland and notes the land is moving each day -- and that could lead to the giant landslide.

"If it comes down, it's going to be a huge landslide," Burns said. "All geologists in the Northwest are keeping an eye on this, like, what is happening."

The Washington Department of Transportation could close I-82, forcing about 30,000 drivers who travel that stretch ot use a 15-mile detour.

Already the state of Washington is using large containers filled with concrete to prevent rocks and other debris from falling onto the interstate.


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