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There's nothing we can do. The house is gone and the property is absolutely useless.

Keene Valley slide accelerating, driven by rain

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Scientists say the record-breaking landslide on Little Porter Mountain in Keene Valley is still on the move, driven by last weekend's heavy rains.

The disaster hasn't caused any injuries, but a half-dozen homes are threatened.

Martha Foley has an update.

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Martha Foley
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Andrew Kozlowski, a geologist with the state museum, said 82 acres of rock and dirt continue to shift.

"It was down to a couple of inches a day... Now in places it's picked up to moving a foot and dropping a foot in a day, so it's really ramped up," he said.

The landslide has already shattered the vacation home owned by the family of Pam Machold.

She said their four-acre parcel, once valued at more than $600,000, is now completely worthless.

"There's nothing we can do," Machold said.  "The house is gone and the property is absolutely useless."

At least three homes have already been evacuated and others are threatened. 

Jim and Charity Marlatt said they are hoping to find a crew that can pull their home back from a ravine that has opened under their foundation.

But cost estimates for the work are high and they said their insurance company has refused to help.

"This will make a huge difference in our quality of life, well in excess of $100,000 to straighten this out.  It will clearly impact our life going forward," Marlatt said.

North Country lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to declare a Federal disaster so that families can apply for financial aid.

Meanwhile, geologist Andrew Kozlowski said it’s unclear when the slide will begin to stabilize: "Now that it's in motion, it's continuing to move and ever recurring rain event is able to infiltrate the ever-expanding cracks and fractures.  The more water it gets, the faster it wants to move, and that keeps driving it."

Kozlowski will give a presentation on the science of the landslide and answer any questions this afternoon at 2 p.m. at the the Keene Central school.

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