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The movement of a mass of rock or soil down a slope. The term is used to describe a variety of phenomena, from rock falls to the gradual downhill flow of soil. Landslides occur when the force of gravity acting on the materials within a slope overcomes the material's resistance to shearing. Among the processes that can lead to a landslide are the steepening of a slope by natural erosion or excavation, the overloading of the slope by an inflow of water, and the motion caused by an earthquake.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on landslide, visit Britannica.com.