Lanai landslide possibly caused by drought

KAUNOLU, Lanai (HawaiiNewsNow) - A landslide on Lanai caught on camera, it was a potentially dangerous situation that turned into a remarkable memory. The boaters were on the northwest coast of Lanai near a snorkeling spot called Sharks Fin when all of a sudden, they say a cliff started falling into the ocean.

 You can see the huge plume of dust grow. The group say they were just in that area and were lucky they weren't in the path of the falling rocks.

It happened Friday afternoon. There weren't any earthquakes there that day, but scientists say landslides can also happen because of drought.

Hawaii does rank as having the worst drought in the US. So did dry conditions, trigger the landslide? It's quite possible.

The clay in the soil dehydrates, shrinks and can no longer hold the rock. That's what happened in 1999 when a devastating landslide swept down Oahu's Sacred Falls, killing eight and injuring several others.

Witnesses saw a one-foot wave generated from Friday's slide on Lanai. Landslides can cause devastating tsunami with no warning in areas close to the slide.

In 1958, an above ground landslide in Alaska created a mega-tsunami. The resulting wave was over 1,700 feet high. Fortunately, the landslide on Lanai was small and no one was hurt, but it is a good reminder. If you ever feel the ground shake or see a landslide, head for high ground immediately.

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