Jackson, Wyoming landslide moving fast enough to watch (now web cams)

Slide Web cams now added 4/19-


Jackson, WY. Efforts have stopped to build a tall concrete barrier to stall part of the East Gros Ventre Butte from giving away. The incipient slide has changed from movement too slow for the naked eye to fast enough to draw a crowd. Cracks and bulges were noticed about a week ago, and a small part of northwest Jackson was evacuated (Budge Drive). Rain, snowmelt, and human activities at the toe of the slide and also on it are blamed for situation. Today and Tuesday rain will move into the valley — Jackson Hole.

For years roads, homes and businesses have slowly crowded the base of the landmark butte and begun to climb onto it. Busy U.S. Highway 89 (West Broadway Ave) parallels Budge Drive 200 to 400 further to the south. Despite the proximity of the slide to the highway artery into the busy resort community, Wyoming Department of Transportation (WDOT) still thinks the slide will not come down quickly onto the highway. Some onlookers yesterday were not so sure. See the story in the Jackson Hole Daily by By Ben Graham.

The mountains adjacent to Jackson, mostly backcountry and wilderness, are notable for many landslides, most of them slow movers. However, the Snake River mountain range to the southwest of town, including some sections above busy Highway 89 in Snake River Canyon and U.S. 191 east of Hoback Junction have slide areas highway users know well. The grandaddy of slides, however, is the famed Gros Ventre slide east of Kelly and Jackson Hole. It gave way in late spring of 1925, fueled by springtime conditions and perhaps a few small earthquakes.

In 1996, deep in the Teton Wilderness (Gravel Creek), we camped on what turned out to be a moving landslide. We broke camp quickly and ran when cracks opened up 100 feet downslope from our tent and the downed logs began to pop and crack. The entire hill slope came down later and formed a temporary small lake.






  1. CodyCoyote Avatar

    “Jackson, Wyoming landslide now moving fast enough to watch ”

    – and THAT, folks, is what we call ” entertainment” in Wyoming in the off season month of April.

  2. CodyCoyote Avatar

    P.S. – a live webcam has been set up across the highway to observe the slide face.


    Geologists have been flying a camera drone above the slide , and have posted the dramatic images here :


    You can also see how gnarly the parking lot behind Wal-Greens is getting. The pavement ia buckling and has some pretty major cracks and rifts in it.

    A house near the top edge of the slump zone is beginning to collapse as the ground under it sluffs away .

    Contractors building a retaining wall to contain the slump had to quit work Thursday. It’s gotten dangerous and dynamic along Budge Drive.

    I think Mr. Geology is winning this one…

  3. wes standfield Avatar
    wes standfield

    Will the slide affect Yellowstone park (Ol’ Fasithful)? Will it affect the Teton Mountain Peak? Who owns the land being affected and who will cover their losses? No USA, I hope!

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      The slide is on private land in the town of Jackson. It could possibly affect traffic into Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks from the south, but that would be if the slide is bigger than anticipated.

  4. Larry Zuckerman Avatar
    Larry Zuckerman

    looks like it got worse and the city has declared Bunge Drive “lost”, was fixing a broken sewer line, people watched as the Bunge house above Walgreens was split in two, and now the crevaces and bulges are only 4-ft away from West Broadway, a main thoroughfare that also carries the city’s water main – whoops



    meanwhile, the city ordered new valves to use for a bypass so that there is not a major flood in Jackson and drinking water supply will not be interrupted, but…. they don’t arrive until Tuesday – should have used Air Express – there is an airport there on some NPS lands with daily jet service!


    don’t mess with Mother Nature – she’ll bite you in the butt, sometimes

  5. CodyCoyote Avatar

    The motto of the Wal-Greens chain is ” …at the corner of Happy and Healthy “.

    Except for that brand new Wal-Greens in Jackson …it’s motto is ” at the intersection of Grumpy and Geology “.

  6. John R L Carmichael Avatar
    John R L Carmichael

    This is part of the Yellowstone national park uplifting

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      John R L Carmichael,

      No this is not part of Yellowstone Park uplifting. It is well to the south of Yellowstone, and it is normal behavior for the slopes of the sedimentary mountain ranges to the east and south of the Teton Range. At this very moment there are likely other slides behaving the same way. However, they are unseen in the deep backcountry.

  7. Wolfy Avatar

    Dirt moves, as evidenced in the live cam shot. Several things can affect the speed at which it moves; this includes how we use the land. Human use can not be discounted. Strip off the trees and vegetation, cut the banks, build roads, block the drainage and it will move faster.

    1. Larry Zuckerman Avatar
      Larry Zuckerman

      I used to rent a house in Salmon, ID in a small residential area that is above the Lemhi Valley in bentonite hills. Lots of movement and freeze-thaw cycles. The ground forces are tremendous and not only break underground water lines, septic systems, crack foundations and differentially lift and drop portions of concrete slabs, driveways, and paved roads, they also shear and split boulders, some coming from hundreds of feet below the clay deposits (probably an old river bed).

      Here’s the kicker, people in these areas are making it much worse by insisting on having nice green lawns, manicured landscaping and fruit trees, and vegetable gardens that take lots and lots of irrigation water from the Lemhi to water the hill to make it fertile. Adding water, likely in Jackson in addition to the 2011 water line break with significant spill, is certainly making their butte slump a bit different than the natural ones on other nearby, more remote sedimentary geological features.

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    I was amazed to see houses built above the eroded toe of the Jackson landslide and onto the old slide itself. One of the early news stories wrote that one of the homes had recently developed a major plumbing leak that had run into the ground.

    So far it looks like only one house has cracked in half.

    1. skyrim Avatar

      Having a residence in St George, Utah has enlightened me on many relative issues. We have expansive soil issues that cause/create a myriad of troubles. We also have a fairly creative system to gather run off from roofs/rain gutters throughout the community. Keeping a significant amount of moisture from penetrating the soil. I’ve seen $500k homes with horrible damage from soil issues. Buyers down there need to be extremely careful when buying a home, but many just do nothing. Stupid!

  9. Red Clover Avatar
    Red Clover

    The slide appears to have slowed down. Why don’t they mention anything about the local earthquake swarms they’re having. They’re not huge, but they are a factor.

    1. Jason Avatar

      earthquake swarms? Could that be from a huge slow moving landslide. 🙂 Come on im not a geologist or anything but, come on. lol

  10. Jason Avatar

    The website has taken the video down and emergency crews are no longer on scene.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      Thank you.

      1. Jason Avatar

        Your welcome. Everyone was hinting on it. I figured I would just come out and say it. Looks like the situation is under control once more.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan