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admin | Created: 01 May 2015 | Updated: 22 Feb 2018
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GEOSTRATA, 2015, May/June, 68

Yeager Airport is located east of Charleston, WV, on top of a steep-sloped hill. In 2005, an overrun area was created at the end of the main runway. The project included the installation of an engineered materials arrestor system (EMAS), a concrete surface designed to bring aircraft to a safe stop. The EMAS required the construction of a fill slope, retained by a reinforced slope; at the time of construction this was reportedly the largest reinforced slope in the U. S.

On March 11, 2015, movement in the slope was detected in the EMAS. Residents of two houses and a church at the base of the slope were evacuated. On March 12, the movement developed into a large-scale landslide. Nearly a third of the engineered fill collapsed.

Forensic investigation of this complex failure will be going on for some time. A Charleston Gazette story stated that cracks were reported in the EMAS in June 2013, and that monitoring over the fall and winter of 2013-14 found total movement of the EMAS of up to 3 ft. By early March, the settlement of the fill had become even more pronounced.