16 October 2010

Round up of landslide stories and events for the last week

Posted by Dave Petley

In weeks in which I have been too busy to post a great deal of material, I often provide a summary of interesting landslide events around the world.  This is the summary for the last week:

1. A very strange landslide in Germany

 Thanks once again to Peter Diehl, the prize for bizarre landslide event of the week goes to a very strange event at a former lignite mine  near Hoyerswerda, Saxony, Germany on Wednesday.  The slide appears to be similar to a quick clay slide, but on a very large scale – the surface area affected is 110 hectares.  This event did not seem to make the English language news, but a German report can be found here.   Fortunately no-one was killed, but 84 sheep were lost.  The best images of the event are at this page – also in German.  Click on the “Fotogalerian” link in the box on the left side, half way down the page.  The two images here are from that source.

The red box shows some trucks caught in the landslide.

2. An interesting rockfall in Wyoming
Thanks to Lisa Denke for this one.  There is an terrific gallery of images of a rockfall event in Wyoming on Interstate 80, also on Wednesday, available at the trib.com site.  According to this article, the cloud of dust generated by the rockfall (see below), which came from a bluff known as the Palisades, reduced visibility to the extent that several motor collisions occurred, injuring four people.

3. Climate change and landslide story of the week
Regular readers will know that there is no doubt in my mind about the reality of the link between human releases of greenhouse gases and increases in the global temperature.  However, I continue to greatly frustrated by some aspects of the way that this issue is handled.  The latest example is a story being run by a number of media outlets, such as this one (in New Scientist, which surprises me), under the headline “A warming world could leave cities flattened”.  The basis of this is a perfectly respectable paper in Global and Planetary Change that looks at a very large volcanic flank collapse in Chile.  From this is spun a surprisingly strident headline on an issue that is not even mentioned in the paper. Indeed the words “city”, “cities” and “urban” do not appear anywhere in the paper, as far as I can see.