Massive Landslide Goes Unnoticed In North America

Fact checked

Record breaking landslides could be taking place right now that are not being registered.

One of the largest landslides in over 30 years went unnoticed in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

Motherboard reports:

One such event occurred last October, when 200 million metric tons of rock—the equivalent to the weight of 1,104,972 blue whales—slid off the side of a remote mountain in Southeast Alaska, sending debris flying and launching a tsunami large enough to be measured by a tidal gauge nearly 100 miles away.

Only after the fact, with the aid of scientific equipment, have researchers been able to detect the event, reports The Alaska Dispatch News, despite the fact that the landslide is one of the world’s largest in recent years—as well as the largest in North America since 1980.landslide

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University posted photos of the rockslide to its Facebook page last week, including an aerial shot of an island six miles away. The photo shows that the powerful tsunami was strong enough to strip away the island’s trees.

Normally, a geologic event in such a remote area would go unnoticed, but for technology developed and monitored by scientists on the the other side of the country in New York. And it’s a good thing, too—with the advent of climate change, events like this are increasing in frequency. As glaciers retreat and permafrost softens, larger shifts in land masses, including enormous landslides like this, may become more visible.