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Yakima fissure expected to cause damage

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Clara Hillyer

More stories from Clara Hillyer

   Not more than 73 miles away from Tri-Cities is a small town located in Yakima county called Union Gap. A potential catastrophic event is happening right before our eyes in this quiet town. Authorities are monitoring a growing fissure forming on Rattlesnake Ridge overlooking Interstate 82. For those who do not know what a fissure is, it is a long, narrow opening or line of breakage made by cracking or splitting, especially in rock or earth.

  Located a few hundred feet above the Interstate, massive cracks have opened up in the past few months, but they have recently started to grow much quicker. Any people living east of Union Gap have been warned to leave their homes. Geologists have been monitoring the movement of soil since October of 2017. The earth under the crack was moving about one foot per week but now it is moving an average of one point four feet per week.

  Currently the crack is 250 feet deep which is almost equal to two football fields. This has convinced more residents to evacuate. Geologists have predicted a landslide to happen in the next month some time. The WDOT, Washington Department of Transportation, is placing large shipping containers filled with concrete to protect the interstate from rocks but this will not protect it from the landslide they are predicting.

  Officials have said if there is an excessive movement of rockfall, they will close the interstate. Something similar to this has happened in South America, Arizona, and Wyoming. In Wyoming the “the gash” is a mysterious land opening “fissure” that was about 50 feet wide and the length of six football fields. The area where a fissure has happened before is in the middle of nowhere unlike the fissure happening on Rattlesnake Ridge.This fissure near us is threatening homes and the Interstate.

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Yakima fissure expected to cause damage