26 August 2020

Slieveanorra: a large peat bog landslide in Northern Ireland?

Posted by Dave Petley

Slieveanorra: a large peat bog landslide in Northern Ireland?

Yesterday a large storm tracked across the British Isles, bringing unseasonably strong winds and intense rainfall.  Storm Francis has caused some flooding, extensive damage to trees and some landslides.  The most interesting of these has occurred at Slieveanorra, in the northern part of County Antrim in Northern Ireland.  At present there is little detail of this landslide except a report in the Ballymena Daily, which includes this image:-


The aftermath of the landslide at Slieveanorra in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Image by KEVIN MCAULEY/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA via the Ballymena Daily.


There is little detail about the landslide in the report, but from the images above the slide appears to have occurred in peat.  A planar shear surface maybe apparent in the distance in the image, although it is impossible to see how far up the hillside this extends.  The report indicates that the landslide, which is on a road that links the  Ballymoney area with the Glens, will take several days to clear.

This is not the first peat landslide in the Slieveanorra area.  In January 2015 the same region suffered a large peat bog landslide:-


Interestingly, in April this year Slieveanorra suffered from wildfires, the consequence of the exceptional period of dry weather in early 2020.  It is too early to say whether the landslide might be linked to these fires.


Quickslide 1: a fatal landslide in Reasi, India

A mudslide killed at least three people in Reasi, India yesterday.  I am not sure as to whether the huge boulder in the image in this report moved in this event, or in a previous one.


Quickslide 2: Network Rail launches two task forces “to help it better manage its massive earthworks (cuttings and embankments) portfolio and its understanding and response to severe weather events”

As I predicted yesterday, Storm Francis triggered landslides on the British railway network.  A failure between Buckshaw Parkway and Chorley has blocked the line, disrupting trains between Preston and Bolton.  Interestingly, Network Rail have launched two task forces to investigate the issue about which I wrote in the aftermath of the Carmont landslideThere are details in a Network Rail press release:

Dame Julia Slingo FRS, former chief scientist at the Met Office and a world-renowned expert in climatology, will lead a weather action task force with the objective of better equipping Network Rail to understand the risk of rainfall to its infrastructure, drawing on the latest scientific developments in monitoring, real-time observations and weather forecasting.

Meanwhile, Lord Robert Mair CBE FREng FRS will spearhead an earthworks management task force to see how Network Rail can improve the management of its massive earthworks portfolio, looking at past incidents, latest technologies and innovations and best practice from across the globe.