Mountainous peaks reaching upward toward the sky are a sight to behold. Taking in the beauty of such scenery can be incredibly relaxing, provided there is no sound to accompany it. However, if you begin to hear a dull roar, things are about to change.
The rumblings of an avalanche are the first indicator that the earth’s surface is about to dramatically shift. It could be that a small avalanche is occurring, or maybe something on a larger scale is underway, such as the case with the Lamplugh Glacier rock avalanche near Glacier Bay in southeast Alaska.
In the early morning of June 28th, pilot Paul Swanstrom of Mountain Flying Service was able to witness a colossal avalanche as he safely flew above the impacted area. From his perch in the clouds, Swanstrom captured video of the aftermath as seen below.
This cataclysm involved the crumbling of a mountainside from once 4,000 feet into a swath of rubble below. The debris trail stretches on for close to 7 miles and contains in the neighborhood of 150 million tons of earthen fragments. The slide generated approximately 280 giganewtons as it moved and measured 2.9 on the Richter scale.
Though rock avalanches of this magnitude are rare, this particular area has experienced five in recent times. These slides are dangerous, but nonetheless an amazing thing to watch.