One of the worst natural disasters in Colorado's history took place in Mesa County on May, 25th, 2014. It came to be known as the West Salt Creek Landslide and remains the longest landslide to take place in Colorado's historical record.

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Ten years later, Colorado realizes just how awful this disaster could have been, and just how lucky we are that the destruction and loss of life were not far worse

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West Salt Creek Landslide

Known as the Grand Mesa Landslide and the West Salt Creek Landslide, this natural disaster began at an elevation of 9,760 feet and dropped more than 2,100 feet down the north side of the World's largest flat top mountain. This landslide was 2.7 miles long, and .5 miles wide, and displaced 38 million cubic yards of rock, soil, and debris that could have easily destroyed the town of Collbran on the Grand Mesa had it kept sliding down the mountain.

A Landslide that Caused An Earthquake

The heavy snowpack on the Grand Mesa was pounded by heavy rain and thunderstorms in May of 2014, and it is believed that the ground was saturated to the point of instability on May 23rd and May 24th. By the evening of May 25th, a disastrous collapse of the West Salt Creek Valley headwall caused the 2.7-mile-long slide that buried nearly 600 acres under more than 120 feet of debris. The landslide caused an earthquake that measured 2.8 magnitude.

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Three Known Fatalities

The slide and debris destroyed irrigation works and gas wells along the Mesa as the slide came down. Wes Hawkins, Clancy Nichols, and Danny Nichols were investigating an irrigation ditch following a small landslide that occurred on the morning of the 25th are are thought to have been caught in the larger landslide that occurred later that day. They remain the three fatalities lost to the disaster that day. Their bodies have not been recovered.

Images of Mesa County's Historic and Tragic West Salt Creek Landslide

May 25, 2014 was a tragic and historic day in Mesa County - the largest landslide in Colorado history. Scroll through the images below for a birdseye view of the magnificent West Salt Creek landslide.

Gallery Credit: Zane Mathews

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See Colorado's Top 5 Most Destructive Tornados Since 1950

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Gallery Credit: Wes Adams

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