28 January 2013

The video of the Mount Dixon (Aoraki Mount Cook) rock avalanche in motion

Posted by Dave Petley


At the time of the rock avalanche on Mount Dixon in Aoraki Mount Cook in New Zealand last week it was reported that at least one of the occupants of the Plateau Hut caught the video in action.  This has proven to be the case – 3 News NZ has obtained the footage from the climber – Neil Wiltshire – and has a nice report that features it.  At the moment I cannot embed it, but you can view it here:

3News footage

The really interesting element is the transition of the movement from a turbulent rock avalanche to an almost intact mass sliding on the ice base.  The footage at around 50 seconds initially shows a turbulent flow, which is generating a huge amount of dust.  However, at the end of that sequence it appears to transition to sliding mode (which is shown in the image above), so that ion the section at about 1:15 (and indeed at the start of the video) the landslide appears to be gliding on the ice with almost no apparent internal deformation.

It would be really good to get hold of the full video – hopefully this will emerge in due course.