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Geologists to investigate Mt Aspiring landslide

Earth News: New Zealand

Click Image for Interactive Map N.Z.

Jan 13, 2007
A massive landslide has occurred in the Mount Aspiring National Park. Around 500,000 cubic metres of debris has come tumbling down. The landslide buried an alpine lake and blocked the Joe River near Passchendaele Peak. On Thursday afternoon a helicopter pilot noticed a large plume of thick dust rising into the air and reported it. A reconnaissance flight on Friday showed more than half a million cubic metres of mountain had given way, crashing into the John Englis Valley. The slide was so large it registered 4.5 on the Richter scale.
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NEW ZEALAND - Natural causes rather than seismic activity probably triggered the massive landslide in Mt Aspiring National Park. The landslip, about 150m wide and 150m long, sent at least half a million cubic metres of rock and debris crashing into the John Inglis valley floor. Climate change was probably a major factor with a lot of glacier melt in the area making many of the mountain slopes in the area unstable. "This was a progressive landslide. Landslides in this area are not unusual but rapid falls like this are." The rumble from the landslide registered 4.3 on the Richter scale. There is now an enormous hollowed-out cauldron-shaped hole on the mountain face. There are rock piles the size of houses on the valley floor. Photo: Mt. Aspiring National Park
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