Lituya Bay, on the west side of the park (part of Glacier Bay National Monument in 1958), has experienced at least 3 tsunamis, the largest occurring in 1958 from an M7.8 earthquake on the Fairweather fault that triggered a rockslide. Until now, no Federal agency has taken on the monumental task of systematically cataloging landslide occurrence across the United States. I'm a freelance geologist working mostly in the Eastern Alps. The tsunami reached 524 m above sea level on the opposite shoreline and killed two people in a small boat. Studying therefore old maps, photographs and reports, I became interested in the history of geology and how early geologists figured out how earth works, blogging about it in my spare time. The tsunami did have some impact outside the fjord, but did not reach coastal habitations. Trees washed away be the wave along the slopes of the Gilbert Inlet, on the opposite shore, suggests a maximum wave height of 1,720 feet, taller than the Empire State Building in New York. Glacier Bay and its inlets are a popular destination for cruise ships and passenger boats; about 540,000 people visited Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GBNPP) in 2017. Perhaps the most famous occurred on July 9, 1958, in Lituya Bay on Alaska’s southeast coast, when a nearby earthquake caused 40 million cubic yards of rock to slide 2,000 feet into the narrow bay. Based on this initial investigation, USGS scientists recommended more fieldwork to determine geologic conditions that control landslide occurrence and size, systematic monitoring of steep slopes to detect slow movements or deformations that could possibly provide warning of landslide events, and tsunami modeling to determine the boat size that could be threatened by landslide-generated waves. French explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse who explored Alaska in 1786, noted that the shores of Lituya Bay "had been cut cleanly like with a razor blade," suggesting that a tsunami occurred shortly before his arrival. Mega-tsunami hundreds of metres tall feared if Alaskan glacier disappears ... creating a tsunami wave potentially hundreds of metres high. A cruise ship in the Johns Hopkins Inlet with a June 28, 2016 rock-avalanche deposit on the Lamplugh Glacier, Glacier Bay, Alaska. At the beginning of the 20th century, the bay entrance was permanently blocked by a giant tidewater glacier face that calved icebergs directly into the Gulf of Alaska. With the recognition that these conditions pose a possible risk to GBNPP visitors, USGS landslide scientists recently completed an investigation and published a 2019 report in the NPS “Alaska Park Science” series that provides an initial assessment of areas where landslides could enter the water of Glacier Bay and generate tsunamis. The tsunami reached 524 m above sea level on the opposite shoreline and killed two people in a small boat. Aerial photo of Lituya Bay showing traces of the 1958 tsunami in the vegetation regrown decades... [+] after the event. Howard Ulrich, a fisherman visiting Lituya Bay with his 8-years-old son that day, at first heard a loud rumbling noise from up at the head of the bay, followed a moment later by what he describes as "an atomic explosion." After scrutinizing the bay’s geology and history for years, one scientist calculated giant waves happen there once every quarter century—a 1 in 9000 chance on any given day. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. A melting Alaska glacier could trigger an unprecedented ‘mega-tsunami,’ scientists have warned. Dramatic footage shows a huge chunk of glacier dropping into the sea and triggering a wave in Alaska. Aerial view of Barry Arm Fjord and glacier on June 26, 2020, showing outlines of potential landslide areas. Tsunami-inducing landslides are rare but have occurred in Alaska and elsewhere. More recently, in 2015, a rock avalanche in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve about 300 kilometers northwest of GBNPP, travelled about 5 kilometers into Taan Fiord, and generated a tsunami that ran about 190 meters up the shoreline. 2017; Dufresne et al. The largest recent landslide in GBNPP was a 2016 rock avalanche on the Lamplugh glacier with the equivalent volume of roughly 28,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. If someone dares to disturb its sleep, it will violently shake the land and the sea. USGS scientists want to answer these questions: The USGS investigation determined where landslides could start and where they could travel within GBNPP. The two arms that create the top of the T-shape of the bay are the Gilbert and Crillon inlets and are a part of a trench on the Fairweather Fault. “Although landslides occur in every State, our understanding of landslide hazards at the national scale is limited because landslide information across the United States is incomplete, varies in quality, accessibility, and extent, and what is known is not collected in a central location,” said Jonathan Godt, USGS program coordinator for Landslide Hazards. In collaboration with State geological surveys and other Federal agencies, the USGS has compiled much of the existing landslide data into a searchable, web-based interactive map called the U.S. The impact generated a local tsunami that crashed against the southwest shore… The concerned experts claim the catastrophic event could even happen within the next 12 months if melting ice triggers a landslide of unstable rocks. Local legends record even earlier events, predating modern explorers and scientists by centuries. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation BrandVoice. I'm a freelance geologist working mostly in the Eastern Alps. The largest tsunami ever recorded occurred in 1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska, per the United States Geological Survey. On the night of July 9, 1958, an earthquake along the Fairweather Fault in the Alaska Panhandle loosened about 40 million cubic yards (30.6 million cubic meters) of rock high above the northeastern shore of Lituya Bay. In the confines of Glacier Bay, a locally generated tsunami could produce massive waves that slosh up the hillsides in bathtub fashion. Bis zu einer Höhe von 520 Metern wurden die … The seven miles long and two miles narrow Lituya Bay was protected from waves by two promontories, separating it from the open sea, and a popular fishing spot for locals at the time. A tale told by the native Tlingit Indians locates a mysterious cave deep below Lituya Bay. Map of Glacier Bay showing the relative probability of landslides entering the water along the coastline of the West Arm. Juli 1958 verursachte ein Erdbeben einen Erdrutsch am östlichen Ende (landeinwärts gelegen), bei dem 90 Millionen Tonnen Gestein und Eis in die Bucht stürzten. In Alaska’s 1964 earthquake, most deaths were from tsunamis … Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The October 2015 Tyndall Glacier rock avalanche caused one of the largest historic tsunamis in Alaska; maximum wave runup height measured from field evidence was 192 m (Haeussler et al. Areas with the most potential for landslides entering the water (where they could possibly generate waves that could affect boats) are the Johns Hopkins, Tarr, Rendu, and Tidal Bay Inlets. See the data in the report, "Interferometric synthetic aperture radar data from 2020 for landslides at Barry Arm Fjord, Alaska.". 2018). According to the legends, qa-htu-‘a still there, ready to send another deadly tsunami at any time. Dort brechen häufig über 50 Meter hoh… This rock avalanche occurred during the warmest year on record in Alaska. In meters scientists want to answer these questions: the usgs investigation determined where landslides could and! Slope faces, no Federal agency has glacier bay, alaska tsunami on the opposite shoreline and killed people. In Alaska according to the glacier calving viewpoints in the Alaskan wilderness in... 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