What On Earth Is Happening To This Road?


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockNov 25 2015, 20:49 UTC
3987 What On Earth Is Happening To This Road?

Within the space of three days, a road in California has turned from a fairly standard dusty highway to looking like something out of a Mario Kart video game.


The Vasquez Canyon Road in Santa Clarita was forced to close after it buckled into a wavy and warped mess over the three days following November 19th. The road is still closed and authorities have warned that the area is unsafe.

CBS Los Angeles reported that the road buckled over a 60-meter (200-foot) stretch, some parts rising as high as 4.5 meters (15 feet).

“Cracks are active and continue to expand,” Steven Frasher of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works told CBS Los Angeles. “Hour by hour, the adjacent hillside continues to slip undermining the pavement, actually coming underneath the pavement and uplifting it.”



Most peculiar of all, there seems no clear explanation as to what caused it.

Professor Jeremy Boyce, who took a group of his geology students from UCLA to visit the road, appeared to be pretty stumped by the geological phenomenon.


"There was no big rainstorm that triggered this. There was no big earthquake that triggered this," he said to CBS Los Angeles.

"When we think about geology, we think about processes that happen over millions and billions of years, so the opportunity to bring students out and see something happening over a scale of hours gives them the idea that not only does geology take forever, it can also happen almost instantaneously."

Vincent Devlahovich, a geology professor from the College of the Canyons, has said he believes it was caused by the surrounding rocks becoming saturated with rainwater. Although this seems like the most plausible explanation, there still doesn't appear to be any concrete answer (no pun intended).


Check out the drone footage, below, to see the site from another perspective.



  • geology,

  • weird,

  • California,

  • road,

  • landslides