Soon after the massive landslide that killed three men on the Grand Mesa in western Colorado on May 26, 2014, Paul Santi PhD ’95, professor and head of the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, accompanied by Karen Berry, interim head of the Colorado Geological Survey, toured the site as members of an advisory group assembled by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

Photo: Paul Santi PhD '95

Photo: Paul Santi PhD ’95

Using LIDAR, the CGS calculates the volume of the slide at 39 million cubic yards, four times larger than the recent Oso slide in Washington state. The photos Santi took that day – undoubtedly one of the most extensive online collections documenting the event – leave a strong impression, but Santi says they still don’t adequately convey the scale.

Chris Nocks ’03, MS ’06, a former student of Santi’s whose parents own land a few hundred yards from where the slide stopped, echoes the sentiment. “Seeing it just takes your breath away,” says Nocks, who looks forward to spending time with his former professor in the coming months when Santi returns to conduct a slope stability analysis for Mesa County on the precarious upper portion of the slide area.

Photos below taken with permission on private property; no public access is allowed to this site.