All this really shouldn't be surprising to anyone. First, it's well known the Adirondacks have generally poor soil. Second, it's well known the Adirondacks have thin soil that is prone to "slides" following excessive rain or snowmelt, look around at the scenery, all those bare 2000ft rock slides came from somewhere.
My layman's take on this, it's a lot like when you get several types of snowfall in a short period of time. The different layers CANNOT bond together, thus they are more prone to creating an avalanche. These slides in Keene Valley are essentially dirt avalanches. And this particular slide is from multiple types of dirt, in different layers, unable to bond.
I guess I don't understand why people feel the need to tempt fate with selecting a home location. For example, when you build your house on the coast of the Outer Banks North Carolina, you have to expect it's going to get hit by at least one hurricane per year, if not several. Eventually, erosion, winds and flooding will destroy the house, one way or another. When it comes to mountains, just take a look around the base of them. They are filled with big piles of rocks, rubble and dirt that used to be somewhere closer to the top.Where is New Hampshire's "Old Man" of the mountains today? Despite being epoxied and wired into the mountain, he eventually succumbed to the forces of gravity and weather, and is now just a pile of rocks at the base of a mountain.
In spite of all our technology, we cannot defeat the forces of nature. Some disasters are just random acts of mother nature, but many others are people intentionally tempting fate.
From the ADK Daily Enterprise:
But what happened to the Adirondacks during the last ice age laid the groundwork for the landslide. Kozlowski said glacial ice advanced south into New York and then retreated at least 20 times. Water was often trapped in front of the glaciers, forming large, deep lakes where clay and silts were deposited.
"As we've been looking around over the past month-and-a-half, we're finding glacial lake sediments at elevations at 2,000 feet and higher on the sides of the High Peaks," he said. "This was not recognized prior to this." - Adirondack Daily Enterprise