In Images: Massive Landslide Falls in Alaska

(Image credit: 2013 Google, Image Landsat, Data USGS, Image IBCAO, courtesy of Colin Stark)

Landslide falls

(Image credit: Drake Olson | )

Geologists detected reverberations from a landslide in southeastern Alaska on Sunday, Feb. 16, but did not have on-the-ground confirmation of the event until commercial pilot Drake Olson provided these photos taken from his plane on Friday, Feb. 21.

First good view

(Image credit: Drake Olson | )

The landslide is thought to be the largest ever since 2010, containing roughly 68 metric tons of rock, and flowing for nearly 3 miles (4.8 kilometers).

River of rocks and snow

rock and snow

(Image credit: Drake Olson | )

The rocks collected lots of snow and ice along the way.

Full of ice and snow

(Image credit: Drake Olson | )

Olson landed his plane, and took images such as these to show the geologists the composition of the landslide, which consisted of a combination of stones, dust, snow, and ice.

Covered by snow

(Image credit: Drake Olson | )

Fresh snow has already begun to hide the evidence of the landslide. Here, a layer of dust deposited by the violent event has been buried under a layer of fresh snow.

Satellite image of landslide

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

Satellite imagery of the landslide, taken on Feb. 23.

Live Science Contributor
Laura Poppick is a contributing writer for Live Science, with a focus on earth and environmental news. Laura has a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Laura has a good eye for finding fossils in unlikely places, will pull over to examine sedimentary layers in highway roadcuts, and has gone swimming in the Arctic Ocean.