Seisma, a research vessel belonging to the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), is sweeping Storfjord with seismic and state-of-the-art, side-scanning sonar. Metre by metre, scientists are studying the floor of the fjord.
On the basis of these detailed maps, staff from the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) will construct a precise terrain model of the sea floor. They can use this to calculate how flood waves will build up and sweep over the shores if Nordnesfjellet should one day crash into the sea.
“It’s vital to get as much information as possible about both the mountain and the floor of the fjord. This will enable us to be prepared in case the worst should happen,” Oddvar Longva, a geologist at NGU, tells me. He is the skipper of the Seisma and has a great deal of experience of surveying conditions on the floor of Norwegian fjords.
Large flood waves
The worst scenario here is that several million cubic metres of mountainside will one day sweep over the E6 trunk road and end up in the fjord. This will generate a flood wave that will hit the boroughs of Lyngen, Kåfjord and Storfjord. As many as 6000 people, along with buildings, industrial plants and farmland, may be inundated.
”It’s not very likely that the mountainside will crash into the fjord in the very near future, but if it does the consequences will be enormous. There is therefore a great deal of risk associated with an unstable section of mountainside,” Terje H. Bargel, a geologist at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), stresses.
”When we’ve learnt how an unstable section of mountainside behaves, and mapped the terrain below sea level, it will be easier for local authorities to draw up contingency plans to provide warning and ensure evacuation,” he continues.
Terje Bargel heads the avalanche group at NGU and is very satisfied that the authorities are now putting priority on investigations of major avalanches.
”The Government has allocated an additional five million NOK this year to study the risk of major avalanches. NGU is concentrating particularly on large avalanches involving more than 100 000 cubic metres of rock that may crash right down into fjords and generate tsunamis. We’ve studied 13 sites in the county of Troms in northern Norway that have the potential to develop major avalanches. Lyngen is by far the most important area,” Terje Bargel says.
It is the northern part of Nordnesfjellet that is moving. NGU has studied the mountain on several occasions by both mapping the geology and gathering geophysical data.
The hazardous stretch of mountainside is four hundred metres broad, five hundred metres high and between fifty and one hundred metres deep. New instruments are now being installed to monitor the mountainside.
Laser meters will monitor movements in the mountainside and tension rods will measure the widening of the fissures. Meteorological instruments are also being set up to monitor the wind, temperature and precipitation.
By Gudmund Løvø
Terje Bargel | alfa
NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system
21.07.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Scientists shed light on carbon's descent into the deep Earth
19.07.2017 | European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy