Riverbank collapse in Northwestern Minnesota

The slumping along the Red River and its tributaries in northwestern Minnesota, such as the 2003 incident at Crookston, is a naturally reoccurring process related to river erosion and the presence of slump-prone clay deposits. These conditions are present throughout the Red River Valley from Lake Winnipeg to south of Fargo. The best defense against the loss of property and infrastructure is to identify vulnerable sites and avoid building in these areas. A better awareness of the problem can be gained through geological mapping of at-risk areas and making the information widely available.

The Minnesota Geological Survey has created a short report that describes the phenomonon and the geologic processes and conditions that lead to the collapse and slumping. The report can be downloaded and viewed as a PDF document (slump.pdf), or a paper copy can be requested from MGS Map Sales at 612-627-4780, ext. 238.

Photographs from the area around Crookston can be viewed at:

Some other useful links:

Environmental problems in the Fargo, ND area:

General discussion of various forms of mass movement (4 meg powerpoint file):

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