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Geology Science Fair Project

Causes of Landslides

Causes of Landslides | Science Fair Projects | STEM Projects
Landslides in the Walla Walla River Watershed can have a serious impact on aquatic ecosystems. To better understand the causes of landslides, a landslide inventory was conducted to identify and measure the slides in the Touchet subbasin.


The hypothesis is that land use activities, such as agriculture, livestock production, mining, outdoor recreation, and timber harvesting, can destabilize hillslope soils and cause landslides.

Method & Materials

You will complete a landslide inventory of the Touchet subbasin of the Walla Walla River Watershed. You will use a combination of 1:24,000 scale orthophotos from 1996 and aerial photographs to locate nearly 250 possible landslides. You will then transfer the sites to a topographic map to be used for field reconnaissance.
You will need a GPS receiver, a range finder, a clinometer, and a topographic map.


The results of the inventory showed that the greatest percentage of landslides (59%) occurred in stream channels, while 24.8% were natural landslides. Of human-induced slides, roads were the largest cause at 11%. The landslides related to timber harvesting totaled 2.6%. It is clear that land use activities can destabilize hillslope soils and cause landslides.

Why do this project?

This science project is interesting and unique because it provides an opportunity to learn about the causes of landslides and the effects on aquatic ecosystems.

Also Consider

Experiment variations to consider include studying the effects of landslides on other aquatic ecosystems, such as lakes or rivers, or studying the effects of landslides on other types of wildlife, such as birds or mammals.

Full project details

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