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Here is a video of a waterfall lashing on to a mountain road, with vehicles driving under it.

https://youtu.be/cHaguj--YBc

There appears to be a big hole carved out right next to the road, possibly by the force of the waterfall.

Is this a ticking time bomb for a landslide?

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Potentially, a landslide could occur. Whether it would be a minor slip or a major fall depends on the geological conditions at the site, the force of the water and the duration that the site is impacted by the water.

In the video in question, the rock face above the road appears competent, but there are not guarantees. The main issue would be is the water undermining the road which could cause a slip and the road to slide.

The more loose the geological material is, the easier it is to dislodge it. Once one item moves a chain of events can occur where additional items are dislodged and a slide occurs.

In addition to high pressure water dislodging material, water acts as a lubricant, making it easier for rocks and regolith to be dislodged.

To minimise the potential for a slide to occur in such a situation, the surface of the road would need to be sealed very well and a very good drainage system installed that would move the water away from the road and the slope below the road

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you think the mountain should have been hacked a little more to prevent that 'car wash'? And the water guided through a culvert instead? $\endgroup$ – Naweed Chougle Aug 3 '15 at 12:02
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    $\begingroup$ That would depend on a number things: money, easy access to the top of the water for heavy equipment, the ability to temporarily divert the water while a guided channel or similar was constructed & the ability to construct a water channel that would handle season high volumes of water from events such a snow melt or unusually heavy rain $\endgroup$ – Fred Aug 3 '15 at 12:11

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