Science: Carbon Mountain

Again last week the innards of Carbon Mountain, a hill in the southwest corner of Colorado three miles south of Durango, churned and rumbled. Fissures opened in its slopes, oozed warm earth. Surface rock, amateurishly estimated as 25 million tons, avalanched down into Animas Valley to the north and might have rumbled on into Durango> did not Smelter Mountain intervene as a retaining wall. But Durango's citizens were calm. The breakup of Carbon Mountain has been going on since mid-December.

At that time the face of Carbon Mountain was a sheer cliff. Rock near the crest of the cliff, with slight forewarnings,...

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