Carlyon Beach / Hunter Point Slide  

"I went through earthquakes in California, and they were over in 40 seconds. But I've never been through anything like this. This thing just doesn't stop..."

John McCarthy lost a waterfront home to the Hunter Point, Carlyon Beach slide. Quoted by Jennifer Olson, The Olympian, May 2, 1999.

Five years of above average winter rainfall contributed to a massive slide in the Hunter Point, Carlyon Beach area of Thurston County.

Forty one homes were damaged by the slide. Thirty three homes in the area were "red­tagged" or declared uninhabitable. Homeowners were requested to evacuate because of severe structural damage.  
The landslide stretches 3,000 feet along the Squaxin Passage shoreline and extends inland 900 feet. Landslide scarps reach up to 15 feet high.
A Carlyon Beach area home once valued at $200,000 is now worth $1,000.

Carlyon Beach: What Happened?

Homes and roads were built on an ancient 60 acre slide. Terraces indicate past landslide activity.

More rain led to increased ground water flowing into the headward sections of the slide. The slide has several failure planes - including an inclined failure plane within silt and clay layers. The greatest movement is occurring in the center of the slide, north of Hunter Point Road.

  • Cracking Concrete
    The landslide damaged several streets in Carlyon Beach, underground utilities, and overhead power lines. Foundations, driveways, support beams, and decks of homes in the area cracked. The water line to one property was severed by the slide.
  • Community Impact
    A Carlyon Beach area home once valued at $200,000 and is now worth $1,000. Ninety other properties in the Hunter Point, Carlyon Beach area dropped in value to almost nothing. In many cases, homeowners were faced with moving expenses, consultant reports, and continued mortgage payments.
  • Ongoing Slide Saga
    Consultants recommended regrading the slope, removing groundwater, and bolstering the toe of the slide. The cost for the proposed fix: between $4 and $39 million - with no guarantees. But without some kind of fix, geotechnical experts say, the slide will continue to move. According to Thurston County data, the slide moved approximately 8 more inches during the summer of 1999.
    Related Topics

    Slides, Patterns and causes of slides along Puget Sound.
    Geology, How glaciers left a legacy of unstable bluffs.
    Understanding Erosion, What to consider on land loss.  


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