16 December 2022
Fifteen years of the Landslide Blog
Posted by Dave Petley
Fifteen years of the Landslide Blog
Today marks the 15th anniversary of my first post to the Landslide Blog. I find it hard to believe that it has been so long. My first post was on 16 December 2007, when I posted about the La Honda landslide in California (see image below), based on a field visit with Nick Rosser, who was working with me as a post-doctoral researcher at Durham University (Nick is now a professor at Durham). Today’s post is number 2,470 on this blog, which works out at about 164 per year. The blog started out on blogger but after a few years moved over to the AGU Blogosphere. I have been hugely honored to have been hosted by the AGU, who have been immensely generous to me.
The site still receives around 1,000 individual visits per day on average, although this fluctuates greatly. It has evolved with time – my posts tend to be a little longer now, and I benefit greatly from the support of many people around the world who provide information about landslides in their domain. I’m not always able to respond as much as I would like, but thank you to you all.
Over the years I have focused on some specific landslide events – in 2008 for example I wrote a great deal about the Wenchuan Earthquake, in 2010 about the Attabad landslide. I have developed some recurring themes – tailings dam failures, the rapidly evolving ability of satellites to allow rapid assessment of failures, landslides associated with major dams, and the horror of mining landslides, especially in Myanmar, for example.
Along the way I have only really had two bad experiences, both of which have been associated with senior and well-respected landslide scientists. Whilst those interactions were shocking and disturbing in many ways, the rest of my interactions have been a huge pleasure and a privilege.
Over the 15 years of this blog my day job has changed hugely. At the start I was a Professor at Durham University, and in the later stages I was also Dean of Research there. In 2014 I moved to become Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at UEA, then in 2016 I became Vice-President (Research and Innovation) at the University of Sheffield. In September 2022 I moved again, to become Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, which is my role today. The blog has been a constant through this period, and has allowed m to remain rooted to my discipline.
Even with my current somewhat busy schedule I plan to maintain the blog, even as many others that started at the same time have fallen away. I write it very early in the morning, at the start of my day, as a way to get my brain in gear. I hugely appreciate spending time thinking about my research focus, even though I rarely have time for research itself. Of course my pieces on individual events are only ever an initial take; the definitive accounts result from detailed studies by others, and must always be seen as being more important.
I write about things that interest me, making the topics somewhat eclectic. I’m constantly amazed and delighted that others find them to be of interest. I will continue to do so if and when I can.
So, finally, thanks to you all for the last 15 years, and thanks in particular to the AGU, to LarryO’, to Planet Labs and to many others for your kind help.
Yours is the first thing I read, or look to read, every day. Thank you for the many years of pleasure your writings have given me.
Dave, what a major contribution and achievement. Thanks so much.
Very informative blog Dave! Well done and keep going!
I am relatively new to the Landslide Blog. Thank you for your diligence, scientific information, and writing skill. These make the Blog extremely useful for the visual images and description. thanks for this service to the geoscience community.
Geology, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
I started reading your blog while in university at UBC; several of us had a four-hour gap in classes on Friday afternoons, so we would sit in the pub and watch landslide videos to pass the time. Nowadays, the way I tell whether or not a local landslide is notable is whether or not it makes your blog. Many thanks for your contributions to open science and fostering community within the geosciences.
I am delighted to hear that you will be continuing with your blog – it has been immensely useful to me as a professional geotechnical engineer. Knowledge I have gained from reading your blog has greatly improved my understanding of landslides, thus benefiting many of my clients.
Through your posts on landslides in art and media, I have become even more aware of such things when watching TV and film. Every time I see a landslide depicted in some “Hollywood” production I think to myself about whether I’ll see a blog post about it in the near future. I have even gotten my kids to watch many of the videos you have provided links for so I can share with them what it is I do for a living (likely why they so enjoyed the Frank Slide Interpretative Centre when we visited in the Summer of 2021).
All the best!
I’ve been meaning to subscribe for years, but never seemed to get around to it, so I’m so glad that I finally got organised and signed up, just in time for your 15th birthday.
Such focus and commitment is to be commended, and given your visitor numbers, your efforts are clearly valued and appreciated. Well done to you and to all your collaborators and contributors.
Awesome milestone, well done! Many thanks Professor Petley for continuing this informative resource despite your ever increasing responsibilities. May we all continue for another 15 years! Cheers!
Space Weather is the site I check every day, but since I discovered the AGU about 6 years ago, I make sure to check in on Landslide Blog at the very latest every week – and when I got time I went back to the start to catch up !
Thanks from Aus,
Vice Chancellor Dave
Stellar job, hope you are able to keep it up.
well done, very interesting and informative. Keep up the good work.
Thanks, Dave. We all appreciate your time and efforts on landslide.
Congratulations on 15 years. I remember very well the early days and first blogs. It is so impressive, looking back, you have maintained regularity, detail, richness and clarity in your reports. Your blog is one that I have visited countless times and use for research and education. There are so many things you could spend your time on, and having made this a priority over the years is greatly appreciated by many. Thank you!
Thank you Dave,
Your work is really valued by British Geological Survey researchers.
Congratulations on 15 years. I’m a huge fan of this blog and recommend it to others. Keep up the excellent work!
Thank you! Big fan