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Colorado State Publications Blog

Is Your House on Shaky Ground?

Ground subsidence problems are very real in Colorado. Whether from naturally occurring elements in the soil or from the effects of Colorado’s mining history, the ground in certain parts of Colorado is susceptible to settling, collapsing, expanding, heaving, or swelling, all of which can have potentially hazardous effects on structures. So how do you know if your area is affected by subsidence and swelling soils? And if it is, what should you do?
When the Ground Lets You Down, a title in the Colorado Geological Survey’s popular Rock Talk series, provides an excellent introduction to these types of hazards. The geological processes are illustrated in simple diagrams and information is provided about insurance, emergency situations, and where to go for help.
Another helpful publication, produced especially for homeowners, is A Guide to Swelling Soils for Colorado Homebuyers and Homeowners. This helpful guidebook can be checked out from our library or through Prospector. 
Additional helpful resources available from our library include:

Also, search the term “geologic hazards” in our library’s online catalog for additional resources.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

September is National Preparedness Month

The recent hurricane events have demonstrated the importance of being prepared for disaster.  Even though we don’t get hurricanes in our state, there are a number of other disasters to prepare for — including both natural disasters (floods, fires, tornadoes, storms, avalanches, rockslides) and manmade disasters (terrorism, active shooters, power outages).  There are many personal incidents to prepare for as well — illness, identity theft, personal safety, home protection, and more.  ReadyColorado.com, sponsored by Colorado’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, can help you prepare for hazards large and small.

On the site you can find resources on how to create a preparedness plan for your home or office; how to stay informed of emergencies in your area; a calendar of events and training; 8 signs of terrorism; a natural hazards map; pet safety; resources for educators; resources for people with disabilities; and a blog.  Recent entries in their blog include a wide variety of topics including pedestrian safety, business continuity planning, bears, immunizations, heatstroke prevention, campfire safety, internet safety, and drone safety.  Before the next disaster – personal or community-wide – affects you, check out this informative site.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Rockfall Mitigation Video

How does the state transportation department (CDOT) clean up the roadways after a major rockfall?  CDOT has created a video to show you.  Just shy of a year ago, on January 12, 2014, a major rockfall on Red Mountain Pass in southwestern Colorado kept the Million Dollar Highway closed for a month; the governor declared it a “disaster emergency.”  The video that CDOT made of the cleanup project is entitled Rocks on Red Mountain Pass:  An Event that Tested Community, Commitment and Courage and is available to view online.

For basic background information on rockfall (also known as rockslides), see the Colorado Geological Survey’s publication Rockfall in Colorado.  Search our library’s web catalog for more resources, including technical studies from CDOT.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Cleaning Up and Returning Home After Floods and Mudslides

Last September’s floods left many with difficult clean-up before being able to return home.  With the significant amount of burn areas in Colorado, floods remain a threat for this year, and Mesa County has already seen mudslides this spring.  If your home is affected, it can be overwhelming to think about all you need to do so that you can return to your home.  So, the State of Colorado has put together a new guidebook, After the Flood:  A Guide to Returning to Your Home and Cleaning Up from the Colorado Department of Public Health and EnvironmentThe guidebook addresses such topics as drinking water safety, mold prevention and treatment, sewage cleanup, food safety, debris disposal, well water, hazardous materials including asbestos, and more.  There’s even a discussion on how to dispose of dead livestock.  Finally, the guidebook lists resources you can contact to get help.  This is a handy guidebook for those who are cleaning up from the current mudslides, and for those living in potential flood regions. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

"Force of Nature"

What’s the connection between rockfall mitigation and historic preservation?  The Colorado Dept. of Transportation explains in a fascinating 10-minute video, Force of Nature:  Passage and Preservation from Georgetown to Silver Plume.  Most of us have driven I-70 near Georgetown and seen the signs warning of falling rock.  The video explains how CDOT engineers are developing systems to protect I-70 drivers from falling rocks by building fences that can slow or stop the fall of boulders onto the interstate, while also helping preserve the historic character and contemporary livability of the silver mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume.  For example, CDOT engineers have designed the protective rockfall fences to be environmentally friendly and painted in colors that would seamlessly blend into the mountainside.  The video takes a look at the history of the silver mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume, and the importance of transportation to the area — first in the form of the narrow gauge railroad, and then the highway.  By creation of a National Historic Landmark District, historic Georgetown was saved from destruction for the highway, which had been planned to snake right through the center of
town — as a result, I-70 was built alongside the cliff, necessitating the need for rockfall mitigation. 

Today, the railroad has returned as a popular tourist attraction (the Georgetown Loop) and the highway is safer thanks to the efforts described in this interesting film.  For more information on the topics discussed in the brief film, visit our library’s web catalog for resources.  Publications of note include:  
  • The Georgetown Loop:  A Capsule History and Guide
  • The Rise of the Silver Queen:  Georgetown, Colorado, 1859-1896
  • Geologic Hazards of the Georgetown, Idaho Springs, and Squaw Pass Quadrangles, Clear Creek County, Colorado
  • Active Surficial-Geologic Processes and Related Geologic Hazards in Georgetown, Clear Creek County 
  • Rockfall in Colorado
  • High-Capacity Flexpost Rockfall Fences
  • Highway Rockfall Research Report
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Colorado State Publications Blog

I-70 closed for Rockfall Mitigation

Today I-70 will be closed between Empire and Silverthorne for rockfall mitigation in the Georgetown area. There is a large, unstable cluster of boulders above the highway that will be removed. More information about the closure is available on the Colorado Department of Transportation website.

If you are curious about rockfall and why it happens, a great place to start is “Rockfall in Colorado” an issue of RockTalk from the Colorado Geological Survey. It has basic information on rockfalls and how rockfall events can be mitigated or avoided.

If you are more interested in the geological details and rockfall risk assessment, check out “Modification and Statistical Analysis of the Colorado Rockfall Hazard Rating System.” This report details a fascinating study conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation, that analyzes the geological structures around Colorado, and ranks them based on the likelihood of potential rockfall.

The Colorado Geological Survey’s rockfall website is another useful source of information.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Rockfall

The recent closure of I-70 due to a huge rockfall in Glenwood Canyon made me curious to see what information I could find on landslides and rockfalls from Colorado state agencies. A great place to start is “Rockfall in Colorado” an issue of RockTalk from the Colorado Geological Survey. It has basic information on rockfalls, why they happen, and how rockfall events can be mitigated or avoided.

If you are more interested in the geological details and rockfall risk assessment, check out “Modification and Statistical Analysis of the Colorado Rockfall Hazard Rating System.” This report details a fascinating study conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation, that analyzes the geological structures around Colorado, and ranks them based on the likelihood of potential rockfall.

Another useful source of information is the Colorado Geological Survey’s rockfall website.

We have many other publications on this topic in the State Publications Library collection. Just search our catalog using the keyword “rockfall” or “landslide” for a list of titles.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Rockfall and Landslides

If you drive up into the mountains or through the canyons, you may notice signs that say “Watch for falling rocks.” We have recently received a CD with a lot of interesting reports on the geology, geologic hazards and history along the I-70 corridor (which you might not guess from the title): “Field Trips” from the 1st North American Landslide Conference, June 2007. There are pictures and diagrams showing weak areas in the slopes and sections with landslide potential. The reports include geologic maps, and discuss the formations in the area. Also included is a paper on Colorado Wine Country, how the geology, soils and climate affect the wines in the region. The CD is a special publication from the Colorado Geological Survey. It was distributed to our state depository libraries, and is also available to check out from the Colorado State Publications Library.