The landslide near Oso, Washington

Last weekend, rainfall triggered a massive landslide near Oso, Washington that killed at least 24 people. There have been many news reports about the event, but I believe NASA is the first to provide satellite imagery of the area post-landslide.

oso landslide

The imagery isn’t particularly sharp, but it shows the massive scale of the landslide. In addition, the landslide has blocked the Stillaguamish River, creating a barrier lake and flooding additional homes. While the timing is always unknown for events like this, the possibility has existed for years:

According to Durham University geologist Dave Petley, the landslide was a reactivation of an earlier landslide that caused problems in 1988 and 2006. The Seattle Times has reported that retired US. Geological Survey geologist Daniel Miller warned the hillside had the “potential for a large catastrophic failure” in a report filed with U.S. Corp of Engineers in 1999.

You can read more about this image on the NASA Earth Observatory site or grab this KML file to view it directly in Google Earth.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. If you turn the NASA provided KML file on and off, it seems like a landslide had happened at that exact spot once before because there is a declining depression in the side of the mountain at that exact location, and the vegetation within the depression looks younger than what is around it. While my heart goes out to those affected, everyone who lives there should have known to expect a landslide at this location.

  2. Correction: 18 people officially listed as killed. The 24 # was when they found 16 and possibly 8 additional but never surfaced. The #90 missing has dropped to 30 officially today. Thanks for your report on the #530slide #osostrong

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