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On the uncommon date of September 18, 2023, there were landslides in Dolton, Illinois.


Google Earth image of an earlier landslide at Dolton, Illinois.

Dave Petley, a renowned expert in the field of landslides, is the author of The Landslide Blog.

Image of a landslide partially covered with a transparent sand-colored overlay and the words “The Landslide Blog,” centered, in white

Several news sources are stating that on September 18, 2023, two atypical landslides took place in Dolton, Illinois, USA. These landslides, caused by abnormally heavy rainfall, happened on the outskirts of a sizable landfill that had been covered and covered with turf.

The official Twitter account for ABC7 Chicago shared a post featuring one of them, such as:

A video has been uploaded to their Youtube channel showcasing aerial imagery of the landslides.

The coordinates for the location of this landfill are [41.643, -87.594]. There is a comprehensive collection of images available on Google Earth, including a recent view from July 2021.

Google Earth view of the site of the 18 September 2023 landslides at Dolon in Illinois, USA, taken in July 2021.
In July 2021, a Google Earth image shows the location of the September 18, 2023 landslides in Dolon, Illinois, USA. It appears that the landfill had experienced a comparable landslide during that period.

From my observation, it seems that the website experienced a comparable landslide during that period.

These landslides are typical examples of translational movements, resembling the ideal “infinite slope” type of collapse. It is evident that the geomembrane used to cover the landfill serves as the sliding surface. My theory is that this geomembrane acts as a barrier to permeability, leading to the build-up of high pore water pressures and reducing resistance to failure. It may also act as a low friction surface, allowing for greater mobility.

The aerial images suggest that there could be three failures at Dolton, as one extra slide is visible in the footage. If this is the case, a significant amount of work will be required at this location.

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