11 June 2014
Vaðlavík / Vadlavik: an interesting landslide in eastern Iceland
Posted by Dave Petley
Vaðlavík (Vadlavik) landslide
A large landslide occurred at Vaðlavík (Vadlavik in the anglicised version) in eastern Iceland in April, but unfortunately this has only just come to my attention. The landslide, which is featured in an Icelandic news story dated 22nd April, has a long runout that ends in a lake. It is clear that a part of the deposit is now in the water. The bay in which this occurred in uninhabited in the winter, so the timing is unclear. RUV has some images of this impressive landslide, taken by Sigurbjörn Jonsson:
The geology of eastern Iceland is generally described as Tertiary bedrock. I am no expert on Icelandic geology, but I wonder if the slide has occurred in volcanic ash (tephra) layer overlying the solid geology. This would explain the fine-grained nature of the material and the mobility of the landslide. Interestingly I cannot see any signs of a displacement wave (small-scale tsunami).
Does anyone have any more information about this landslide?
Now we know why the ramp along the mountain front has that semi-parabolic shape. Is this ramp building out onto a broad, uplifted marine terrace? I’ve seen similar profiles on uplifted terraces here on the Central California coast.
[Yes, I think that is likely to be correct in both respects. D]