15.3. Mass Wasting – Review Questions

  • What are the three major factors influencing mass wasting? How can each factor vary to influence mass wasting?


  • Describe the different kinds of materials that can make up a slope.


  • What are examples of unconsolidated materials? Consolidated materials? What kinds of mass wasting events are associate with each type of material?


  • How does water content influence slope stability? Why?


  • Of dry, wet, and damp sand, which is the most cohesive? Why? Which is the least cohesive? Why?


  • Draw a cross-section through a pile of wet sand vs a pile of dry sand. How do they differ in terms of their angle of repose?

  • How does slope steepness influence the likelihood of mass movements? Is a steep slope more or less stable than a shallow slope?


  • What are some natural processes that can increase mass wasting? Anthropogenic (human) causes? Why does each process increase the likelihood of mass wasting?


  • How are mass movements classified (three main characteristics)? Give examples of how each characteristic influences the type of mass wasting event that can occur.


  • Draw examples of the different mass wasting events described in this chapter, and the features associated with them.

  •  How could you try to prevent each type of mass wasting event from happening?









  • What is soil creep? What kinds of evidence would we expect to see on a slope affected by creep? Draw examples of these features (in plan view or cross-section).

  • What kinds of events can trigger a rock slide? Rock fall? Mud flow?




  • Name some major mass wasting events that have occurred in Canada. What caused each event?




  • What are some measures that can be used to mitigate mass wasting events?


  • Go to Google Images and search for “mass wasting”. How would you try to mitigate or prevent the various mass wasting events that appear in the images? If you can’t think of ways to mitigate the mass wasting events, what are other ways people could avoid endangering themselves?







  • Draw a picture of a soil slump, in cross-section. What kind of faulting is similar to soil slumping?

Extra review questions that may be covered in lecture (depending on your professor) that are not completely covered in the the textbook readings:

  • Describe circumstances where liquefaction can occur. What kinds of materials are subject to liquefaction?



  • What regions of Canada have the highest risk of landslides? Why are these regions more prone to mass wasting?



  • How does a slope’s angle of repose vary with the size and angularity of the particles in the slope?




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