- This is one of the two types of mass wasting that you are likely to see evidence of on a regular basis (the other is soil creep). Soil slump is a common problem especially where slopes have been oversteepened or vegetation is disturbed on a hillside. Some soil slumps are large enough to cause significant property damage. Loss of life though is characteristically low, as this is not an especially fast type of movement.
- The graphic on the left (below) clearly illustrates that a soil slump slips along a curved surface at the base of the mass.
- The photo on the right is a soil slump located on the north side of the Old Nashville Hwy overpass on Thompson Lane here in Murfreesboro. More details of this slump are presented below.
As indicated by the photos below, the Thompson Lane
soil slump didn't develop overnight. Rather, the original grade (i.e. slope)
on the overpass soil face was too steep. In addition, the plants that grew
on the face were shallow-rooted grasses that added weight, but provided
little holding power. The overpass was mowed regularly which also discouraged
growth of deeper rooting plants. Finally, due to the weight of the mowing
machines, ruts developed on the soil face, providing excellent access for
water to flow into the soil mass, adding weight and decreasing internal
||This photo illustrates a very typical site -- minor slumping of the soil mass. Just allowing a low slope area to lose vegetative cover can often result in this amount of movement (i.e. slight.) Road maintenance crews tried repeatedly to repair this recurrent damage over a 5 or 6 year period until finally, in 1999, the slope totally failed.|
|As you can see in the middle and bottom photos, a
large detachment scar developed at the top of the slump, and the toe deformed
by earthflow -- just as the cartoon above illustrates.
||Today, this site has been regraded, is mowed less frequently, and deeper rooted plants have been allowed to grow. Just goes to show, you shouldn't fool with Mother Nature.|