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This profile was last updated on 3/1/07  and contains information from public web pages.

Dr. Richard J. Pike

Wrong Dr. Richard J. Pike?
 
Background

Employment History

  • Landslide Specialist
    U.S. Geological Survey
  • Geologist and Terrain Analyst
    U.S. Geological Survey
  • Research Geologist
    U.S. Geological Survey
  • Research Geologist
    USGS
  • Kenneth Wesson

Education

  • Ph.D.
17 Total References
Web References
"It doesn't look to me like ...
www.presstelegram.com, 1 Mar 2007 [cached]
"It doesn't look to me like a natural hill slope of any sort," said Richard Pike, a landslide specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.
Metro & Regional News - Highway 50 slide may be just a start - sacbee.com
www.sacbee.com [cached]
"We've had that kind of season," said Richard Pike, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park."This was simply a wet year."
A lot of rain soaking deep into bedrock that in California is relatively porous will mean mudslides when there isn't a cloud in the sky, said Pike.
> Mudslides had closed six major roads in the state on Monday.
...
Pike, who has published articles about California landslides, said there are two kinds in this state: those that slide suddenly during a pounding storm and the kind that are happening now.
A lot of rain over a longer period of weeks, not hours, soaks into the soil, he said.
As the rainy season expires, water is still sinking into the bedrock.
"Sometimes it takes a long time to get down there," he said.
Unlike other parts of the country, local bedrock is not as solid or rocky, which makes it more vulnerable to water and slipping, Pike said.
"It can be moving even when the sun comes out because it takes a long time to move," he said.
After an El Niño winter, a mile-long mudslide in 1998 slipped in an undeveloped part of Fremont.Called the Mission Peak Landslide, it was one of the Bay Area's biggest.
"Those are the kind to expect this year," Pike said.
They tend to move more slowly than the sudden, violent rush of mud off steep slopes where the top layer of soil is rain-soaked, he said.
The rain creates a slurry that runs downhill rapidly and can kill because you can't outrun those, Pike said.
After torrential rain in January 2005, the hillside over the Ventura County seaside village of La Conchita plunged into the settlement, killing 10 people caught at home.
California is particularly bedeviled by mudslides because of the climate, Pike said.
All the rain comes in one season.
But every state has landslide problems of some kind, such as in Ohio, where clay soil slides into rivers, he said.
Besides the rain, cutting into the land is a major factor in landslides, Pike said.
"Whether you cut into the landscape to build highways or roads, that's really destabilizing the terrain," he said.
"You change the slope and you're messing with Mother Nature and she doesn't like it."
As the demand to build spreads into California hillsides, more people and property are living with risk, Pike said.
Northern California went through a similarly wet winter in 1906, he said.
When the San Francisco earthquake struck in April that year, dampened earth slid - just as it is now, he said.
"There just weren't as many people and structures," he said.
The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake couldn't have hit at a better time, at least for mudslides, he said: It was a dry year and it happened in the fall, the driest time of year.
"So if we have an earthquake this year," he said, "that could be really bad."
"A lot of rain in a ...
www.sfgate.com, 28 Feb 2007 [cached]
"A lot of rain in a short time, and the hill's susceptibility to slides goes way up," said Richard Pike, a geologist and terrain analyst at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park."And after three days of rain, what happened was a slam dunk."
The hill's vertical face above Broadway, where old wooden buildings at the base were battered and evacuated Tuesday morning, is studded with the relics of the quarrying damage from long ago: Rock bolts some time back were thrust deep into the soft bedrock, with each bolt holding a thick steel plate roughly a foot square that is designed to buttress the fractured rock against falling.
"Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't," Pike said, "but the whole face is a recipe for trouble."
...
Tuesday's rock fall, as Pike said, was "just your garden-variety landslide," causing no deaths or injuries.
ScienceMaster - USGS Geologist Richard J. Pike
www.sciencemaster.com, 10 April 2012 [cached]
Richard J. Pike, Ph.D.
...
Geologist Dick Pike works with GIS specialists to understand the California Bay Region's slope-failure hazard through statistical relations among geology, topography, and landslides. He has contributed to such Team products as the 1997 El Niño Landslide Folio and the 1998 GSAToday article, and currently is supervising the compilation of a digital 10-county landslide database. Dick consults on all aspects of surface-form quantification and visualization, including DEM (digital elevation model) quality and shaded-relief mapping. He maintains a unique bibliography, now at 4300 entries, on terrain modeling. Earlier in his USGS career, Dick used spacecraft-image data to measure the Moon's surface roughness and study impact craters on the terrestrial planets.
A CLOSER LOOK Richard Pike, an internationally known authority on terrestrial ground-surface form as well as the morphometry of impact craters on the Moon and planets, is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Geological Survey. Currently, as member of the Survey's San Francisco Bay Area Earth Surface Processes Team, he cooperates in assessing the regional landslide hazard in northern California using digital elevation models (DEM’s) and other map data.
Hired by USGS initially to perform quantitative terrain-analysis of the Moon's surface in support of the Apollo Program, Dr. Pike has since drawn upon a diverse background in geology (B.S., Tufts College, 1959), geography (M.A., Clark Univ., 1963), and planetary science (Ph.D., Univ. Michigan, 1968) to address a number of disparate problems. These include the origin of lunar and planetary craters, roughness of the Martian surface, application of multivariate analysis to geomorphology, land-surface types of Southern New England and Italy, geometric signatures of landslide-prone topography, liquefaction-susceptibility mapping in coastal California, developing the systematic science of terrain modeling, shaded-relief mapping of large areas, and slope-failure in 1997-98 El Niño storms.
Dr. Pike has been Project Chief and Principal or Co-Investigator on a number of USGS efforts. He is the author/co-author of a hundred published papers and has consulted to the U.S. Army and NASA as well as taking part in the usual activities of a senior scientist. His favorite professional achievements are the Apollo Medallion (a NASA award), USGS's all-time best-selling map product—the large-format shaded-relief map of the United States, a recent book on terrain modeling, and correct prediction of the overall size and shape of the impact crater that extinguished the dinosaurs. Dr. Pike has taught summer courses in Italy and was included in three editions (24-26) of Marquis Who's Who in the West and in editions 1 and 2 of Marquis Who's Who in Science and Engineering.
Metro & Regional News - Highway 50 set to reopen - sacbee.com
www.sacbee.com [cached]
The nature of landslides defies any simple solution, said Richard Pike, a research geologist with the USGS in Menlo Park.
That's why, despite control measures and improved engineering, landslides still occur, he said.Something as small as leaves and debris blocking a culvert can alter the dynamics of soil or topography.
"It becomes unpredictable what happens," Pike said.
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