4 March 2013

New images of the Hatfield Colliery (coal mine) landslide in northern England

Posted by dr-dave

There has been little news from the Hatfield Colliery site for several days now, although Network Rail (the track operators) have revealed that they do not expect it to be reinstated until June, and the costs are expected to be very high.  Meanwhile, on Twitter, sammie_spad (who appears to be a train guard) has posted four images of the landslide toe (two of them below):

https://twitter.com/sammie_spad

https://twitter.com/sammie_spad

First thing to note is that the landslide presumably has stopped moving now as whilst it was moving no-one was allowed onto the track.  Second, and less obviously, the patterns of ground deformation are really amazing!  I am particularly intrigued by the process that is occurring at the foot of the toe bulge – (the right side of the deformed railway line above).  Here, the trackside infrastructure and the trees are all leaning toward the landslide (i.e. back-tilted).  There are several explanations for why this might have happened – it could be that the loading from the landslide toe has deformed the sediments ahead of the slide, or it could be that the material beyond the track is also a part of the landslide, with a “fault” between the two sections, for example.  Any thoughts from anyone?

Unfortunately these images do not tell us what is happening up at the top of the slope.

Meanwhile, the BGS now has a very nice summary page about the landslide on their website.  The analysis of the historical maps is particularly interesting.