How the changing weather creates rockslides - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

How the changing weather creates rockslides

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SANDSTONE -

The ice is melting and temperatures are climbing.

That makes for a dangerous combination on a rocky West Virginia hillside.
In the matter of minutes it could all come tumbling down... and it's usually caused by water.

"You get 60 degrees and very heavy rainfall it soaks everything down through there and freezes up, expands that rock just a little but and the next time it rains it's easier for that water to come down and break the rock apart," said National Park Ranger Richard Altare.

We learned from Altare it's also got a lot to do with the types of rock found in the mountain state.
Layers of softer rock like shale and conglomerate will erode much faster than sandstone.

Ranger Altare said on a road like Route 20 in Summers County, it's not if these rocks will fall, it's when.

"Keep an eye out when it's raining and in these freezing and thawing times when it's extreme temperatures when it's wet outside and especially like now when it goes from 60 degrees to 10 below in a days time," said Altare.
     He said the National Park Service warns people of these dangers almost every day.
     Even just a small rock could cause a deadly accident on these back country roads.