Massive landslide swept through Mesa County, western Colorado, U.S.


A massive landslide swept through Mesa County in western Colorado, U.S., on May 25, 2014. According to the Mesa County Sheriff's Department, three people are missing. The slide occurred after a day of rain and a smaller slide earlier in a day.

According to Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey the three men who are reported missing went to check on their irrigation water that had been disrupted. From there they went to check on the first slide.

It’s believed a second slide happened while they were in that area and they may have been caught in it.

The site is located along Salt Creek Road, also known as 601/2 Road, near Vega State Park, east of Collbran. It is 800 m (0.5 miles) wide and about 3.2 – 4.8 km (2 – 3 miles) long. At the edges, the mud is 6 – 9 m (20 – 30 feet) deep, and at its center it is believed to be about 76 m (250 feet) deep.

YouTube video

Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey news conference. See the second part here.

Next news conference is scheduled for noon local time on Tuesday, May 27. This will be 18:00 UTC on May 27th and you can find it here.

YouTube video

Flyover video. Credit: Mesa County Sheriff's Department

Image credit: Mesa County Sheriff's Department

Image credit: Mesa County Sheriff's Department

Image credit: Mesa County Sheriff's Department

Heavy rains are said to have contributed to the severity of the landslide, but it also important to notice that there are fracking operations within 7 km of the landslide site. It is known that fracking can affect already unstable ground, example. Fracking, or induced hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracturing) is a mining technique in which a liquid (in most cases water) is mixed with sand and chemicals and the resultant mixture is injected at high pressure into a wellbore. This creates small fractures in the deep rock formations along which gas, petroleum and brine may migrate to the well.

Landslide area is still considered unstable and people are discouraged from going near.

Featured image credit: Mesa County Sheriff's department


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  1. Frack! That is the real story here, buried under the rubble. If you google earth the location you can see how many holes had been drilled to undermine the entire area…This is important!

  2. Fracking from 5 miles away caused this?
    Quit sending money to the Saudis.
    Wake up little ones and study how fracking actually works before blaming it as the cause of rain soaked soil sliding. Please note there were similar slides in the past, way before fracking even was invented.

  3. I wonder how long it will take Western Slope Oil and Gas Association to make an announcement detailing how fracking could not have been a contributing cause.

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