15 July 2014

Lofoten Islands: images of landslides and rockfalls

Posted by Dave Petley

Lofoten islands

Over the weekend I travelled up to the Lofoten Islands, north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, to see the midnight sun.  We were lucky to have quite wonderful weather, which provided the perfect opportunity to enjoy this most beautiful place:


The topography of the islands is exceptionally steep and rugged, which means that landslides and rockfalls are common.  This is a very impressive ancient ridgeline rockslide- note the complete loss of a section of the ridge, the long runout of the deposit and the very large boulder sizes:

Lofoten islands .

On a completely different scale, small-scale failures that have transitioned into minor debris flows are also common. This is a very nice example, with just a very small initial scar but a long track:

Lofoten islands


Sheet (face-parallel) jointing in the rock masses is also very common, which creates release surfaces for rockfalls.  This is an example above the main road in which rockfall barriers have had to be installed:

Lofoten islands.

The rockfalls and landslides inevitably cause some disruption.  At the southwest end of the chain there is a huge project ongoing to build rockfall shelters along the road:

Lofoten islands .

The Lofoten islands are one of the most beautiful, interesting places I have visited.  I strongly recommend them for a weekend, or for a longer stay!