California Is Now 13 Acres Bigger

Thanks to a massive May 20 landslide in Big Sur
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2017 6:46 AM CDT
California Is Now 13 Acres Bigger
This May 22 aerial photo provided by John Madonna shows a massive landslide along California's coastal Highway 1 near Big Sur, Calif.   (John Madonna via AP, File)

(Newser) – A recent landslide is the largest one a rep with California's Department of Transportation is aware of, and the US Geological Survey explains just how big it was. The May 20 slide in Big Sur involved more than a million tons of rock and dirt, and by analyzing before-and-after photos, the USGS has determined that roughly 13 acres of "new California land" were created, per a Thursday tweet. In a Facebook post, it provides some other ways of looking at the slide, writing that it was big enough to have "filled 800 Olympic-sized swimming pools [and] buried Highway 1 more than 65 feet deep."

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The Mercury News provides a visual of its own, saying the new bit of California is as big as 10 football fields—"an exhilarating event for a state used to watching its edges erode." Kevin Schmidt with the USGS agrees, telling the paper, "It has been a number of decades since something this large increased our land mass." The falling rock covered a quarter-mile stretch of Highway 1, and the state's transportation department believes it'll take more than a year to get it clear for passage again. CNN notes that portion of the highway was already closed, and had been open on only rare occasions since January because of heavy rain. As for how long the new land will last, an earth sciences professor estimates it'll be eroded within a decade. (Hawaii is growing, but for a different reason.)

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