Fire Earth

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Posts Tagged ‘rock avalanche’

Massive Landslide Transforms Westman Islands

Posted by feww on May 13, 2010

Large chunks of rocks and earth fall off the uninhabited island of  Bjarnarey,  Westman Islands archipelago

A fisherman who witnessed the catastrophe said large columns of water rose into the air as a 50-meter wide chunk of a 120-meter high cliff broke off and collapsed into the ocean below, Icelandic Review reported.

“A large chunk of the island’s vegetation disappeared in the landslide. Where the waves used to crash against a cliff there is now a rocky scree, which extends 100 meters out from the cliff. The largest boulders are believed to weigh as much as 50 tons.”


Credit: Mynd/Óskar P. Friðriksson/Visir.is. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice.

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Posted in environment, landfall, Landslide, sinkhole | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Taiwan Massive Landslide Buries 6-Lane Freeway

Posted by feww on April 26, 2010

The earth and rocks avalanche blocks a 6-lane  freeway over a 300-meter stretch

“A hill ahead suddenly moved and crashed down on the road within five seconds, said entertainer Chen Mei-feng in an interview with cable station Formosa Television. She was traveling in a car approaching the scene of the landslide.” ETaiwanNews reported.


A massive landslide buried a 300-m stretch of the No. 3 Freeway between Taipei and Keelung. Photo. Taiwan News. Image may be subject to copyright.

The landslide reportedly blocked a 300-meter long of a major road, the No.3 Freeway between Taipei and Keelung earlier today, burying an unknown  number of vehicles under thousands of tons of earth and rocks.

“At 2:33 p.m., the hill slid down at the 3.1-kilometer mark from the northern end, just north of the Chitu toll station, and took down an overpass, Keelung Mayor Chang Tung-jung told reporters.”

The 6-lane Freeway, said to be 100 meters (328 feet) wide, was completely covered by the landslide  over a distance of 300 meters (984 feet).

“The military sent about 200 soldiers to help with relief work, while 36 excavators and 37 trucks arrived at the scene to work through the night, officials said.”

“Experts were still guessing for reasons for the landslide, because there was no earthquake and no rain reported in the area at the time. Media described the incident as the biggest accident on a Taiwanese freeway in 30 years.” The report said. More on this developing news …

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Posted in Landslide, Taiwan | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Valley of the Rocks Avalanche: Deafening Thunder

Posted by feww on April 23, 2010

Image of the Day:

Valley of the Rocks Avalanche: The Largest Landslide in North America


Valley of the Rocks, B.C., Canada.  A geologist says the largest landslide in North American history, a colossal avalanche of rocks and earth, occurred on a Rocky Mountain slope near the B.C.-Alberta border some 10,000 years ago. The huge avalanche permanently shifted the geography of North America.
Photo (undated): Nick Roberts, Simon Fraser University.

A detailed study of the cataclysmic event  has been carried out by researchers Nick Roberts of Simon Fraser University and Steve Evans of the University of Waterloo.

“Despite its size, this landslide has gone virtually unrecognized” in the scientific literature, Roberts told Canwest News Service. “Even basic information about the rock avalanche, including its precise dimensions, volume and age,” were unknown until now.

“Destabilized by forces associated with retreating glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age, the final cleaving of the mountain above the Valley of the Rocks might have been triggered by an earthquake or a torrential rainstorm, the researchers believe.” The report said.

What was the magnitude of the avalanche?

“When the mountain gave way, any Stone Age hunters in the vicinity might have been convinced the end of the world was unfolding.” The report said.

“Transfer of kinetic energy to sound energy through fracturing and collision of rock material would have produced a tremendous noise,” says Roberts.

“Survivors of large landslides in recent decades have described sounds similar to cannon fire or the roar of a jet engine,” he adds, noting that the blasts likely represent “initial fracturing in the first stages of failure” while the roar is generated by the rush of millions of tonnes of rock down the mountain side.

“In the case of the Valley of the Rocks avalanche,” says Roberts, “these sounds would have been deafening within a few kilometres of the landslide, and would have been audible for at least many tens of kilometres.”  More…

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Posted in earthquake, extreme rain event, Landslide, last Ice Age, retreating glaciers | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »