Uneven Ground

In this guest blog, GAI’s Richard Ruffolo, PG, Senior Project Geologist, shares some information on common geological occurrences.

Did you know? Each year, millions of dollars are spent to mitigate and prevent disasters and repair the damage they cause. Geological Hazards, or “geohazards,” are geological or hydrological processes that can result in loss of life, property damage, and economic and social disruption. As the world’s population increases and development expands, these events are becoming increasingly common. Geohazards occur naturally or as a result of human activities, and include landslides, rockfalls, earthquakes, volcanoes, subsidence, sinkholes, radon, and flooding.

How can we protect ourselves from geohazards? State and federal agencies provide educational outreach to the public, offer insurance to protect property owners from flooding and mine subsidence, and provide publications such as hazard maps. Engineering firms employ geologists and engineers who work in conjunction with government and property owners to identify potential hazards and provide solutions to prevent and mitigate them.


Earlier this year, a landslide occurred on the north-facing slope of Mt. Washington, immediately downslope of the businesses along Grandview Avenue and east of the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh, PA. During the landslide, an estimated 500,000 cy of material was mobilized and covered the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks, temporarily closing rail traffic. The City of Pittsburgh contacted GAI Consultants to view the landslide and provide assistance with developing a plan of action.

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Contact our experts directly! Rich Ruffolo, PG can be reached at 412.476.2000.

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