Today’s San Francisco Chronicle newspaper had a story on hillside failures in the San Francisco Bay town of Hercules: “Oozing Hillside Imperils Home“. “Oozing hillside” is a poetic way to describe “landslide”. Even more poetic is the explanation given by the reporter (attributed to the “associate city engineer”) for the cause of the ooze:
“Hillsides are more vulnerable to landslides in the spring because the water inside the soaked earth begins to expand when the air temperature rises, forcing large chunks of a hill to move.”
So the hillsides are not so much oozing but ballooning away on warm zephyrs? Actually: blame the ooze on the rising groundwater; and blame that rise on the wet winter. Not that poetry, or more accurate geotechnical engineering explanations, do anything to help the unfortunate homeowners….