Several thousand years ago, a large chunk of Red Mountain north of Ivins, Utah, collapsed into the nearby valley. I doubt anyone was around to witness this amazing event, but I bet it could have been heard and felt from several miles distant.
Above: Google Earth image of Red Mountain north of the small town of Ivins. A massive prehistoric landslide is outlined with a white line.
Geologists and other observant local have known about this feature for years and naturally many wonder: Is another catastrophic landslide possible off of the flank of Red Mountain?
To get a better idea, a small group of geologists were led up to the top of the mountain to take a closer look.
The "trail" to the top is nothing more than a cairned scramble straight up the prehistoric landslide. I'm not kidding when I say straight up, we're talking about 1400 vertical feet in just 1/2 mile.
The views of the surrounding desert from on top are endless.
Above: geologist Marc Deshowitz observes the western extension of Red Mountain rising above the Kayenta subdivision.
It was a great day to get out of the office, stretch the legs a bit,and look at some rocks, but we couldn't find any evidence for eminent failure. It appears large landslides don't happen too often off of Red Mountain, and if I lived in the area, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it (smaller rock falls tumbling down the mountain are certainly more likely).
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