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1999 Venezuelan landslide
Landslides are a widespread and major geologic hazard. Massive slides can be triggered by heavy rains. Sometimes massive landslides are triggered by earthquakes, as in the disastrous Yungay, Peru slide of 1970, or by volcanic eruptions, as in the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens.

In the middle of December, 1999 approximately 4 meters of rain fell in just a few days in the Cordillera de la Costa mountains to the south of the towns of Los Corales and Caraballeda, which are on the coast north of the city of Caracas. The rains triggered a series of mud and land slides that claimed the lives of anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 people in the narrow strip of land between the mountains and the Caribbean Sea. Over 150,000 people were left homeless by landslides and floods in the states of Vargas and Miranda. This picture was taken a few days after the largest of the catastrophic slides. Learn more...

[Photo and text courtesy of the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center]