Massive landslide in Alaska sweeps over glacierIn this image provided by Drake Olson at flydrake.com, a landslide is seen at Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska on July 6, 2012. (Drake Olson,AP Photo/flydrake.com)
AP) ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Even by Alaska standards, the rock slide in Glacier Bay National Park was a huge event.
It was a monumental geophysical event that was almost overlooked until a pilot happened to fly over where the cliff collapsed and snapped some photographs nearly a month later.
When the cliff collapsed in the national park in southeast Alaska on June 11, it sent rock and ice coursing down a valley and over a lovely white glacier in what perhaps was the largest landslide recorded in North America.
The rumbling was enough so that it showed up as a 3.4-magnitude earthquake in Alaska. The seismic event also was recorded in Canada. The massive landslide occurred in a remote valley beneath the 11,750-foot Lituya Mountain in the Fairweather Range about six miles from the border with British Columbia.
"I don't know of any that are bigger," Marten Geertsema, a research geomorphologist for the provincial Forest Service in British Columbia, said Thursday, when comparing the landslide to others in North America.
If someone had been standing in front of the slide, the air blast alone would have flattened that person, said Geertsema, who studies natural hazards resulting from geophysical processes on the earth's surface.
"I think they would be blown over by the air blast," he said.http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57472101/massive-landslide-in-alaska-sweeps-over-glacier/?tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea