1 August 2019
Sogn og Fjordane: a series of large landslides in Norway
Exceptional rainfall in both the United Kingdom and Norway have triggered substantial flood and landslide problems this week. In the UK, a large-scale evacuation remains in place as a result of the failure of the spillway of the Toddbrook Reservoir in Derbyshire. Efforts are underway to lower the reservoir level, but concerns remain that the dam could fail.
Meanwhile, in Norway record-breaking rainfall triggered a series of large landslides, primarily in Sogn og Fjordane county. One of these appears to have caused a fatality when a driver was caught in the flow at the foot of the slope at Årnes, with the car being swept into the lake. As yet the victim has not been recovered. Aftenposten has an article about this event, based upon the eye-witness report of a woman on the other side of the lake. It includes this image of the aftermath of the landslide:-
Once again this appears to be a comparatively small failure on the upper slope, possibly consisting of a failure at the intact rock / regolith interface, which has then entrained slope material to become a debris avalanche.
Elsewhere, there was a series of similar failures. The most dramatic may well have occurred at Vassenden in Jølster, in which the landslide appears to have split the community in half. The image below is from NK, which has an excellent gallery of pictures of the landslides:-
NRK has a report of another series of the landslides, this time at Halvgjerda. The image below, also from NRK, shows the aftermath of the series of failures:-
A local lad, Jakob Slåtten, captured one of these in a dramatic video, which can be seen on the NRK page. It’s worth a look.