California’s prolonged drought is believed to have caused a massive mudslide on Mt. Shasta over the weekend after meltwater from a glacier sent torrents of debris and mud down the mountain, officials said.
Experts believe glacial melting, accelerated by the drought, may have released “pockets of water” that destabilized massive ice blocks and causing the debris flow Saturday afternoon in Shasta-Trinity National Forest, officials said.
No injuries were reported, and there was no immediate estimate for how much material was caught up in the debris flow, which occurred in Mud Creek Canyon on the southeast side of the mountain, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Officials urged visitors to stay away from the area because of potentially dangerous and “unpredictable” conditions.
The mudflow crossed Pilgrim Creek Road, forcing authorities to close it and Forest Service Road 31 for several days.
Sediment from the debris flow will also likely affect fishing and water quality in the lower McCloud River, officials warned.
Meanwhile, Forest Service officials were keeping a watch out for another possible debris flow in other drainages on the mountain.
Parched forest lands have also fueled explosive wildfires that have ravaged the northern part of the state.