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Mass wasting in coastal Alaska

Mass wasting in coastal Alaska

Mass wasting, a dominant form of erosion in coastal Alaska, is common where slopes are oversteepened by glacial erosion, soils are newly developed and shallow, and there is abundant rainfall. Presently, the most practical policy for the forest-land manager is avoidance of susceptible areas during timber harvest. Old debris avalanche and flow scars are visible on aerial photos, but a more accurate identification of these areas can be made from a slope-gradient map, which can be used to (1) delineate potential slide areas, (2) determine percentage of slide-prone ground, and (3) establish cutting patterns causing minimum disturbance.

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