oozing hillsides

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….

About Ed Medley

Ed Medley has been on a random walk for over 40 years. Many scribbles and snapshots at this site are from his vagabond transits; others are from his 40 years of international experience in geological and geotechnical engineering, academia, and mineral exploration prospecting.
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