Simon Fraser University

Mud, minerals

June 14, 2010
Mystery mudslide puzzles experts
Provincial and municipal environment officials are trying to figure out the cause of a massive mudslide that wiped out homes south of Oliver. Earth scientist Brent Ward, who oversees a field school running out of Oliver, says: “We are very lucky no one was killed or injured. If this had happened at night when people were in their homes, we certainly would have had injuries and possibly deaths.” John Clague, another earth scientist who researches natural hazards, adds, “This is an unusual slide for the Oliver area. This was a large debris flow, more similar to what we might expect on the coast. We're trying to track down the cause of the overflow. It could be a plugged culvert.”

Brent Ward, 778.782.4229;
John Clague, 778.782.5444;

Mineral wealth—boom or bust?
The world is watching to see if war-torn Afghanistan’s newly discovered $1 trillion in mineral wealth can make the country better known as a world-class mining centre rather than a hotbed of conflict. David Jacks, an SFU assistant professor of economics, says: “Seemingly welcome news may bring unwelcome consequences. If the emerging reports of vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan prove to be true–and there is no reason to believe otherwise–recent economic history suggests that exploiting the discoveries for the benefit of the Afghan people may be a trickier proposition than it seems.”

David Jacks, 778.782.5392;

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