According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a landslide is the downward slope movement of rock, debris, or earth.
The risk of landslides on slopes increases with rainfall, changes in water levels, stream erosion, melting snow, and even factors such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, or human activity.
In Kentucky, landslides occur all throughout the state. However, there are certain regions that are especially prone to this natural disaster.
The Kentucky Geological Survey has listed these regions as the Eastern Kentucky Coal Field, the Outer Bluegrass, the Knobs Region, and the Ohio River Valley.
These specific areas are prone to landslides because there might have been preexisting landslides in the area as well as artificial fill slopes, drainage hollows, and highly developed hillsides.
The Kentucky Geological Survey keeps a landslide inventory database and they state that there is a listing of over 2,300 landslides in the state.
Landslides cost millions of dollars because of the damage inflicted on roads, houses, and other infrastructure. One of the largest landslides in the state occurred in 2019 in Hickman, western Kentucky. The cost of the total damage was over $10 million.
Most of the landslides in the landslide inventory database have been reported by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Division of Abandoned Land Mines.
As of reports from 2014, most of the landslides in the state occurred in Perry, Kenton, Campbell, Pike, Floyd, and Harlan counties.