Rockslides and Rockfalls

Rockslides and rockfalls are similar, but the difference is basically the way in which the rock (or rocks) displace from point A to point B, as well as the trigger mechanism involved. A rockslide is a type of landslide that contains rocks that dislodged from the face of a mountain side or hill. They are more common on high, steep slopes.

A rockfall is a rock or series of rocks that breaks off a cliff face and falls vertically or semi-vertically down via rolling, bouncing, sliding, and falling. Geological and climatic conditions are principal causes of rockfalls. The mass of the rock, root-wedging, freeze-thaw and other factors may cause a fall.

Earthquakes may also be a catalyst for rockslides and rockfalls. If you live in an area where you may be affected by rockslides or rocks falling off cliffs, or avalanches that may be caused by them, prepare accordingly. The same goes if the area where you live is prone to earthquakes. You may want to think twice about where you plan to live or build a home. Be certain that if a quake happens, that a boulder or boulders won't come ' rolling, bouncing, sliding, and falling' towards your home.

These slides and falls may cause a lot of damage to whatever gets in its way if large enough. Houses, cars, roads and other may be crushed, displaced or otherwise damaged by the boulders. Have a look here at a CBC news story of a bus narrowly escaping a rockfall on a coastal B.C. Highway.

The danger in some instances may not be from a rockfall or rockslide directly, but indirectly such as by causing an avalanche to come down.

Talus and scree slopes are caused by rockslides and rockfalls. Scree slopes are made up of smaller masses of rocks that form at the bottom of cliffs or steep mountain slopes, and talus slopes are made up of larger masses of rocks.

Here are some links to help you to learn more about rockslides and rockfalls.

1. Wikipedia – Rockfall

2. Wikipedia – Rockslide

3. The Canadian Encyclopedia


Polk County Tennessee Rockslide Nearly Kills Road Crew
Mountain Collapses - Giant boulder almosts crushes car