As landslides are driven by gravity they tend to take the shortest path downwards. They often come down at an angle to a stream or riverbed (foreground in this image), creating a dam. Small ponds and lakes can form behind the slide, drowning areas upstream. Eventually the river or stream cuts a way through the dam, but in some cases the dam may suddenly burst, releasing a slurry of rock, earth and water downstream. These types of flood have been responsible for many deaths throughout the world.
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Photograph by Mike Crozier
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