Scientists have declared on Thursday that climate change has an enormous impact on the Alaskan environment. An increased risk of a huge landslide would probably result in a catastrophic tsunami in one of Alaska’s fjords.
Warming temperatures have determined the retreat of a glacier that is responsible for supporting a steep slope in the Prince William Sound fjord, located at around 60 miles in the Eastern part of Anchorage. At this moment, only one-third of the slope is directly supported by ice. The scientists are warning that in the near future, an earthquake could trigger the landslide. Other external factors might be heavy rain or a heatwave, which would determine the melting of the ice at the surface.
Anna Liljedahl, working at Woods Hole Research Center, has declared that the slope has been moving for many years now. However, a prolonged risk of collapse is sensed, and it is estimated that it will be produced somewhere within two years and two decades. The risk increases even more as the glacier is currently undergoing a receding phase. What is even more alarming is that its imminent collapse will result in an uncertain period for fishers and recreationalists, given an immense wage generated.
A rough estimation determined states that the slope measures up to 500 million cubic meters of rock and dirt. As a concrete example, the slope is several times more massive than the well-known Hoover Dam. Its fall could generate a tsunami with a height of several hundred feet.
Therefore, the researchers are stating that it is of utmost importance that the inhabitants in the affected areas will shortly be informed about this upcoming hazard. It is even more alarming since the area is a point of attraction for tourists and fishing boats. When the weather is sunny, there are even hundreds of people in the area at the same time.