90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Mudslide Science

The latest from the Washington state mudslide disaster, and the actual geology of mudslide risk.

Searchers slowly move through a field of debris following a deadly mudslide, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP)

Searchers slowly move through a field of debris following a deadly mudslide, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP)

Michael Lincoln and his wife were sleeping Saturday morning when the mountain gave way above them in Oso, Washington.  They heard banging and bolted, in seconds, with a neighbor.  It sounded “like the end of the world,” they said of the mudslide coming down.  Like the sound of ten thousand things hitting each other.  In Washington state they are still pulling out the bodies of those who did not escape the giant slide.  The geology, the science, of that much earth letting loose that fast is amazing.  So is the risk, if you’re in the way.  This hour On Point:  mudslide science, and the Oso disaster.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tom Banse, reporter for the Northwest News Network. (@TomBanse)

David Montgomery, geologist and professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Author of “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations.”

Daniel Miller, geologist at the Earth Systems Institute.

Ted Warren, staff photographer for the Associated Press. (@tedswarren)

From Tom’s Reading List

Seattle Times: Heartbreaking search intensifies in mudslide zone – “Dozens spent the day carefully maneuvering through shattered trees and the unrecognizable debris of homes and twisted propane tanks, searching with specially trained dogs and a variety of technologies such as sonar.”

Christian Science Monitor: Can mudslides be predicted? Washington site’s history highlights challenge – “That such a disaster could occur – the death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers hunt for the missing – even with that history highlights the challenge faced by researchers who are trying to refine ways to assess landslide risks and provide timely warnings when conditions are ripe to trigger landslides and mudslides.”

NBC News: Eight Questions About the Washington Mudslide – “It could take weeks, months or years for families of the dead and injured and other local residents to recover from the mile-wide mudslide that buried a rural Washington town under tons of mud and debris in one of the worst landslide disasters in U.S. history. At least 16 people were confirmed dead on Tuesday evening and dozens of reports of missing people have been received by authorities.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

ISIS and arming Syrian fighters. Scotland rejects independence. NFL turmoil. US troops and Ebola. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Sep 19, 2014
Joseph O'Neill (courtesy of the author)

Author of “Netherland,” novelist Joseph O’Neill is back, with “The Dog,” on globalization, capitalism, and self-discovery in Dubai.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 19, 2014
Joseph O'Neill (courtesy of the author)

Author of “Netherland,” novelist Joseph O’Neill is back, with “The Dog,” on globalization, capitalism, and self-discovery in Dubai.

 
Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

ISIS and arming Syrian fighters. Scotland rejects independence. NFL turmoil. US troops and Ebola. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 19, 2014
Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Lots of big, contentious topics on the show this week — from Zionism to early education, corporal punishment to development in the Grand Canyon.

More »
Comment
 
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment