25 June 2014

Slow-Motion Avalanche? Only in Alaska

and perhaps a few other northerly or high-altitude areas ... comes this news of a very slow avalanche:

FAIRBANKS -- The state plans to move a 2,000-foot section of the Dalton Highway in 2017, hoping to delay a collision of geologic proportions.
As of August 2013, the frozen debris field was 189 feet from the Dalton Highway shoulder. COURTESY DR. MARGARET DARROW — UAF

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2014/06/23/3530983/as-frozen-debris-field-slides.html?sp=/99/188/189/#storylink=cpy

A moving mass of frozen debris -- about 80 feet deep, 600 feet wide and a mile long -- continues to inch downhill toward the highway, both winter and summer, sweeping away everything in its path. Researchers theorize that the giant blob is sliding year-round atop a layer of water that remains a liquid despite the permafrost because it is under high pressure.

It may take five to 10 years for the "frozen debris lobe" to reach the road at its current pace of several inches per week, but a similar formation three miles away has been clocked at 125 feet a year, almost fast enough for someone to hear the rocks move.

FDL-D is the fastest-moving debris field studied among many in the Dalton Highway corridor. As of August 2013, it was just over a quarter-mile from the highway and has moved an average of 126 feet per year. COURTESY DR. MARGARET DARROW — UAF

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2014/06/23/3530983/as-frozen-debris-field-slides.html?sp=/99/188/189/#storylink=cpy

If the debris pile near Mile 219 of the Dalton Highway accelerates to that speed for some reason, the road and the trans-Alaska pipeline could quickly be placed between a rock and a hard place.

The road realignment plan set for 2017 would be in conjunction with a much larger road reconstruction effort from Mile 209 to 235, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said.

There's more at the link.

16 comments:

PioneerPreppy said...

I think I have seen some people move slower than that.

Rev. Paul said...

Yeah, there are few everywhere. It's not like they get around much ...

Old NFO said...

Interesting how that's moving... and hope it DOESN'T speed up... It'd outrun the government... Just sayin...

Rev. Paul said...

Outrun the gov't? Heck, that's not hard.

ProudHillbilly said...

Sneaking up on things...

Rev. Paul said...

Yep, PH; we're schneaky like that. :)

Cathy said...

Love your comment section :)

Rev. Paul said...

Thanks, Cathy. Everyone can play! :)

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Something similar in Colorado called a Slumgullion.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slumgullion_Earthflow

Rev. Paul said...

Cool stuff (so to speak), WSF. Thanks.

Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

Moving at turtle speed.

Rev. Paul said...

Mebbe so, Sandy, but weighing a couple billion tons. :)

threecollie said...

That is pretty spooky

Teresa said...

Wow - they know they need to move it, but not getting to it until 2017. I hope that's because they are doing some good planning, but not counting on it. Heh.

Teresa said...

Wow - they know they need to move it, but not getting to it until 2017. I hope that's because they are doing some good planning, but not counting on it. Heh.

Rev. Paul said...

"Meh. Whatever."

Alaska D.O.T., protecting citizens ... when they get around to it!