Landslides in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Landslides in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (in From the shield to the sea; geological field trips from the 2011 joint meeting of the GSA Northeastern and North-Central Sections, Richard M. Ruffolo (editor) and Charles N. Ciampaglio (editor))
Field Guide (Geological Society of America) (March 2011) 20: 61-85
The Pittsburgh region has long been recognized as one of major landslide activity. This results from the geology and geomorphic processes shaping the region. The underlying bedrock of flat-lying interbedded strong and weak sedimentary strata has been acted upon by erosion, stress relief, and mass wasting, including creep and landsliding processes, to produce masses of marginally stable colluvial rock and soil on many of the steep hillsides common to the region. Landsliding often involves re-activation of such rock and soil masses. Recent landsliding is often triggered by heavy precipitation and by human activities, i.e., slope excavation, fill placement, and changes in long-established patterns of surface and subsurface drainage. This field trip has four stops, all within 20 mi of downtown Pittsburgh. Each stop is along a transportation corridor (railroad, local road, and two along an interstate highway). Each stop has various sized examples of the types of landslides common to the region. Most of these examples involve reactivation of unrecognized colluvial landslide masses.