13 November 2016

Asakveien: a deadly quick clay landslide in Norway on Thursday

Posted by Dave Petley

Asakveien: a deadly quick clay landslide in Norway on Friday

On Friday I posted about a dramatic quick clay landslide in Canada at the end of last week, which fortunately did not lead to loss of life.  Sadly, late on Thursday afternoon another event occurred, this time at Asakveien in Sørum municipality in Norway, with a much higher cost.  Aftenposten has a detailed article about the landslide, and its consequences, in Norwegian, but Google Translate does a pretty good job (with some minor edits by me):

At 5:45 pm on Thursday afternoon, the police received police notification that a mudslide had occurred in Asakveien in Sørum municipality, near a climbing park.  The landslide has a width of 400 meters and was almost 300 meters long.  Six forestry workers who work on a nearby farm were in the area where the landslide occurred.  Three of them escaped and reported to the police that three colleagues are missing.

It has now been accepted that the three missing men, all from Lithuania, have lost their lives, although the most recent reports suggest that their bodies have not been recovered as yet.

The newspaper images show that this is another classic quick clay landslide:

Asakveien landslide

The quick clay landslide at Asakveien in Sørum municipality, Norway, courtesy of Aftenposten and Hans O. Torgersen



There is also some excellent drone footage on Youtube:


There are suggestions, without any real evidence as far as I am aware at this point, that the landslide might have been triggered by construction, possibly associated with the road near to the toe.  This of course would not be the first case in which a quick clay landslide has been triggered in this manner.  There is a very interesting still from the video below:

Asakveien landslide

A still from a Youtube video of the quick clay landslide at Asakveien in Norway


To the right of the landslide are both earth moving equipment and what appear to be cut slopes.  It would be most interesting to know if this activity extended into the area that failed.  Inference from the image above suggests that this might be the case.


Thanks to Odd Are Jensen for pointing this one out to me.