16 December 2008
Dave's landslide blog – one year on
Posted by Dave Petley
Yesterday we threw a small party to celebrate the first birthday of this Blog, which is today. As you can imagine, it was well-attended by A-list celebrities, some of whom have a surprising interest in landslides. Did you know for example that Britney Spears has a deep fascination with flow dynamics (although rumours that the lyrics of her song were originally “my debris flow is killing me” may well be exaggerated). Robbie Williams has gone one step further, having completed a PhD in low cost landslide mitigation in mountainous environments. News that his song “Angel” was actually written in appreciation of gabian wall design (“…and through it all, it offers me protection“) should be treated with a pinch of salt. Reports that he is considering a reunion with Take That in order to record a cover version of Transmission Vamp’s “Landslide of Love” are something that we can all get excited about.
On a more serious note, I started the blog as an experiment to see what would happen, primarily with the aim of trying to break the barriers between academics and the wider community. I think it has worked – certainly I have had a lot of fun doing it and I have learnt a surprising amount – although it has not all gone to plan. Unfortunately I didn’t put a web counter on the page until April, so my data for views of the blog only runs from there. I guess it is probably true to say that the site didn’t get a huge amount of traffic before that though. So here are the stats:
Number of posts since 16th December 2008: 173
Number of views since 18th April 2008: 63,228
Number of visitors since 18th April 2008: 32,980.
The graph of page downloads since 18th April is shown below (click on the graph for a better view). You will see that the number of visitors varies hugely according to whether there is a large, high profile landslide in the news.
The highlight remains the post of 12th May 2008, which I put up at 07:27 UT, 29 minutes after the Wenchuan Earthquake occurred. This post said “it is reasonable to assume that this earthquake will have triggered large numbers of landslides as this is a very landslide-prone area…if the initial reports on this earthquake are correct then its impact could be fearsome.”
Sadly all too true, although I guess I hadn’t really envisaged just how bad it would actually be.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has tipped me off about videos, images, news stories, etc. I couldn’t do this without you.
Dave,Congrats on turning one. I found your blog during the Sichuan Earthquake and “quake lake” saga. I’m not a geologist, engineer, or public safety official but I have learned a great deal from your posts and have a newfound respect for the power of sliding dirt. As a resident of Albania I experience the effect of landslides occasionally and would be interested to know if your data sources include Albanian data. Keep up the good work.
Dave,I started following your blog for a slope stability class I was in, and I just can’t seem to get enough! You’ve got a great writing sense, and the pictures are like candy for my brain.Keep it up!Greg
Thanks for the good work Dave – I use this blog as an example of how someone who is expert at their work can share what they are doing with the world.Noticed this in Google News about a landslide clearing in Hawaii:http://www.starbulletin.com/news/hawaiinews/20081216_waimea_valley_shuts_down_so_firm_can_end_landslides.htmlWaimea Valley nature park will be closed for several weeks while engineers work to remove debris from two rockslides and stabilize the steep slopes of the North Shore valley.About 2 cubic yards of rocks fell on a service road early Sunday morning, cutting off all electrical power into the valley.The rockfall came three weeks after a larger landslide blocked the main entry road with 150 cubic yards of debris that included a boulder as big as a car. The Nov. 21 rockfall interrupted electrical power and telephone and water service.