15 May 2019
Joffre Peak: a significant rock avalanche in Canada
On Monday morning (13th May 2019) at 07:41 am local time, a significant rock avalanche occurred at Joffre Peak in British Columbia in Canada. This has been well-reported in the local newspapers – for example, City News 1130 has a good report, including links to seismic data that recorded the event. Chris Christie posted this image of the source of the landslide and the initial part of the track:-
Meanwhile, BC Parks have released this image of the track of the rock avalanche at Joffre Peak:-
Dr Drew Brayshaw has undertaken an initial analysis of the landslide, and tweeted that the failure area was about 25,000 – 30,000 m², based on a failure geometry of a block approximately 200 m high and 150 m wide. The runout distance was about 4.2 km. The location is 50.343, -122.446 if you want to take a look in Google Earth. The landslide is likely to have entrained a large volume of material along its track, although we will need to wait for good satellite images until this can be determined properly. No lives have been lost, but there has been some disruption to power supplies.
Once again we see a large rock avalanche in a high mountain area in the spring time, so it is logical to think that this might have been associated with melting ice in the rock mass. Interestingly, British Columbia has been experiencing unusually high temperatures – on Thursday last week a number of temperature records were broken, with temperatures in some locations reaching 30 C.