The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Thursday, 22 June 2017 12:30

Tsunami waves leave 4 people dead in Greenland (video)

Tsunami waves leave 4 people dead in Greenland (video) Credits: The Watchers

A very large landslide or the shallow M4.0 earthquake registered by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), 28 km north of the village of Nuugaatsiaq, in the western coast of Greenland, are the two possible causes of the tsunami waves that swept away more than 11 houses and killed four people on June 18, 2017.

Local media report that the four people found dead were inside their homes in Nuugaatsiaq when the tsunami hit the area. According to police officials, 78 people had been evacuated, while 23 refused to leave their houses. Two more people have been seriously injured, while seven others suffer minor injuries. Damaging waves have also struck the communities of Uummannaq, Illorsuit and Upernavik. A helicopter flying over the area reported "big waves" spotted about 38 km off the coast.

USGS (US Geological Survey), EMSC (European Mediterranean Seismological Centre), GFZ (German Research Centre for Geosciences) and other agencies did not record any earthquake in the region. According to the landslides expert Dr. Dave Petley, the fact that Greenland is not a particularly seismically-active area and that the earthquake has not been recorded more widely, combined with the localized nature of the tsunami, suggest that the cause is most likely to have been a very large landslide, either from fjord walls or under the water (or maybe both).

A Danish Joint Arctic Command's S61 helicopter discovered on June 19 a site where an extremely large piece of bedrock (approximately 300 x 1100 m) has fallen into the water, indicating a possible source of the tsunami.

GEUS seismologist Peter Voss said that the signals at their earthquake stations resembling earthquakes might as well indicate that a landslide has been triggered. He added that GEUS has a theory that it was a major slope from a mountain that has triggered the tide of waves: "The slump has made a large part of the mountain collapse into the fjord and has created this wave," Voss said. However, for GEUS, it is still unclear what caused the tsunami. It is not possible to conclude anything from the measurements alone, they stated.

Arctic Command said that they will send a CL-604 Challenger and C-130 Hercules aircraft to be used for search and transport, and collection of additional imagery for damage evaluation and assessment of the risk of further disasters in the area.

Source: The Watchers

Read 1236 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 June 2017 13:18


SuperStation95 FM Radio

The News Center is being funded by our Annual Corporate Sponsors " (learn more):