9 July 2010

Increased landslide occurrence at Attabad

Posted by Dave Petley

Various media reports suggest that the rate of landslide activity has dramatically increased today on the slopes above the Attabad lake.  For example, SAMAA is reporting that “Series of landsliding still continues in intervals in Ataabad, Hunza, causing difficutlties for the boat service, SAMAA reported Friday.  Process of landsliding has started in intervals since last night in Hunza, Ataabad. Boat service however being continuing.”

A key concern remains the potential for a large failure to create a wave that triggers a rapid breach event.  The ability for mass movements to create waves is best illustrated by this video of an ice collapse event:

This is a very small collapse event compared with a large rockfall.  Large collapses are often preceded by increasing event rates (i.e. in this case increasing rates of rockfall activity).  The best (and absolutely fantastic) example of this is a large ice collapse event captured in Argentina.  Do watch this if you can!

This is not to say that such an event is coming in Hunza, or indeed that a wave would be large enough to trigger a breach, but the need for caution is clear.