5 March 2018
Landslide weirdness – a landslide as a “crashed UFO”
Occasionally I like to feature items of landslide weirdness, such as face of Jesus in a landslide scars or landslides being caused by poleward shifts. Today I think I may have found one that tops them all to date – a landslide that is interpreted as being a crashed UFO. The source is a Youtube video that appears to have gone viral. Posted on Youtube by “Secureteam10”, the video purports to show a crashed UFO on the island of South Georgia. At the time of writing it has been viewed over 700,000 times:-
The core of the video is this object and its associated trail through the snow:-
In the video this is interpreted as a UFO that has crash landed. The object is seen as being a 50 metre long alien space craft that has slid to a stop across the snow and ice, having first crashed into the mountain.
However, the image above shows a different story (even if you discount the problems of the trajectory of the UFO before it struck the hillside). The image clearly shows that the trail extends from a landslide deposit. A closer view confirms this:-
Clearly evident is a comparatively recent (at the time of the image) landslide deposit. The trail extends high into this deposit. Upslope from the landslide mass are a series of scars – it is not possible to determine from which of these the landslide originated.
Of course the runout trail is quite unusual. I am not sure if a block has detached from within the mass, and then moved downslope, or if it tumbled onto the mass from above, and then slid. If I was a betting man (and I am not) I might go for the latter explanation, but without a more detailed investigation I am speculating. But either way this is conventional landslide behaviour on snow and ice covered surfaces, and we have seen other large isolated boulders travel long distances. In this case the elongate shape of the block favoured sliding rather than rolling, but as the friction of the substrate is low the distance travelled can be large.
It is an interesting case study, and as such it is a good find by Secureteam10. But it is not a UFO.