Geologist: Landslides Happen Often, are Unpredictable

Updated: 05/24/2013 4:20 PM By: Jay Kolls

A Minnesota geologist who visited the Lilydale Park rock slide site tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there was little time to react. 

Geologist Alan Knaeble went to the rockslide location and says it looks like the slide happened similar to an avalanche.

Knaeble says there is glacial remnants on top of the bluff mostly sand and gravel. Underneath the glacial till is limestone and then shale. Knaeble says heavy rain probably created enough instability that the gravel and sand gave away on top and then triggered the limestone and shale to tumble down the ravine.

Knaeble says this type of slide happens quite often, is natural, very unpredictable and occurs in a split second.

Knaeble tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the children underneath the ravine had very little time to react as the sand and rock came swiftly down the ravine. Knaeble says there really is no way to know when a hill, or bluff, is about to come loose and create a rock or mud slide.

He says the only precaution you can take is right after a heavy rainstorm. Knaeble says that is when a slide is most likely to happen. 

In this case, he says, the children just happened to be in the "wrong place at the wrong time."

Watch the full interview here.