Q:

How can humans prevent landslides?

A:

Quick Answer

While preventing all landslides is likely impossible, removing material that could slide down can prevent many of them. In some situations, its also possible to provide a buttress against material that could slide.

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Full Answer

Removing material to prevent landslides is effective, but it's expensive. In addition, removing material can also damage the local ecosystem and cause further problems down the road. Material that is easy to remove is often moved to a lower altitude, but this is fairly uncommon even in landslide-prone areas. However, buttresses that prevent sliding are common, and they are used throughout the world.

Experts often focus on detecting landslides and surveying areas to determine their landslide risk. While especially vulnerable areas are well know, some of the most dangerous areas are those where landslides rarely occur. Because they have a low frequency of landslides, those that do occur tend to be large and especially destructive.

Experts also focus on creating early detection systems to help give residents warning about potential landslides. Because prevention is so difficult in many areas, letting residents know that a landslide is coming can help save lives and prevent the loss of expensive items. Homes, however, are still vulnerable even with early detection.

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