Friday, July 13, 2012

Day the Earth Moved: Massive Alaska Landslide Could be North America's Largest Ever

An Alaskan landslide was so massive that it created an earthquake that registered on seismic devices around the world—yet the incredible event wasn't discovered until a month later.

The mammoth, five-mile-long landslide happened in a remote region of Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and was so immense in scale that it was detected on earthquake monitors thousands of miles away. Although the slide took place on June 11, it wasn't until this week that a pilot who was flying over the area noticed the monumental geophysical event.

When a cliff collapsed in the park in Southeast Alaska, it sent millions of tons of rock and ice coursing down the valley and over a nearby glacier in what could be the largest landslide recorded in North American history. The landslide took place in a remote valley beneath the 11,750 foot Lituya Mountain in the Fairweather Range about six miles from the border with British Columbia, Canada.

If any humans had been standing at the base of the valley when the landslide took place, the air blast created by the impact would have blown them possibly hundreds of feet into the air, killing them instantly.

The region near Lituya Mountain has been the scene of extraordinary geophysical events before. In 1958, a landslide on the other side of the mountain produced a gigantic tsunami in a small but deep bay that was estimated to have reached an unbelievable 1,700 feet, which would be one of the largest waves recorded in modern history. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...