On Monday, a pilot in the Mountain Flying Service discovered the aftermath of a massive landslide near Glacier Bay, Alaska. The landslide occurred early in the Morning on June 28th, but there were no people around to witness the event.
The landslide occurred on the Lamplugh Glacier. The side of the mountain, measuring about 4,000 feet tall, collapsed, causing a large chunk of the mountain to collapse. It is estimated that 150 million tons of rock was released in the ensuing avalanche and the debris field extended over 6.5 miles.
The Glacier Bay area which is located in Southeast Alaska is known for large landslides and avalanches and there have been five in the area recently. Colin Stark, a professor at Columbia University, stated that due to the relative infrequency of events of this magnitude around the world, it is important to study them when they occur. By his estimate, the force of the landslide was approximately 280 giganewtons and their seismometers detected this landslide. In fact, it was so large that it registered a 2.9 on the Richter Scale.
This landslide was a complete slope failure, extending from crest down to the toe of the slope. Researchers say that a study needs to be performed in order to determine the cause of the recent rise in landslide activity in Southeast Alaska.