, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 327–332 | Cite as

Karrat Fjord (Greenland) tsunamigenic landslide of 17 June 2017: initial 3D observations

  • Dave Gauthier
  • Scott A. Anderson
  • Hermann M. Fritz
  • Thomas Giachetti
Recent Landslides


On 17 June 2017, a landslide-generated tsunami reached the village of Nuugaatsiaq, Greenland, leaving four persons missing and presumed dead. Here, we present a preliminary high-resolution analysis of the tsunamigenic landslide scar based on three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of oblique aerial photographs taken during a post-failure reconnaissance helicopter overflight. Through a 3D quantitative comparison with pre-failure topography, we estimate that approximately 58 million m3 of rock and colluvium (talus) was mobilized during the landslide, 45 million m3 of which reached the fjord, resulting in a destructive tsunami. We classify this event as a “tsunamigenic extremely rapid rock avalanche,” which likely released along a pre-existing metamorphic fabric, bounded laterally by slope-scale faults. Further analysis is required to properly characterize this landslide and adjacent unstable slopes, and to better understand the tsunami generation.


Rock avalanche Tsunamigenic landslide 3D observation 



The survey team was supported by the National Science Foundation through the NSF RAPID award CMMI-1748631. Pre-failure DEMs were provided by the Polar Geospatial Center ( under NSF OPP awards 1043681, 1559691, and 1542736. The post-failure DEM is available from D.G. We thank Adrián Riquelme for a very constructive review of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BGC Engineering Inc.KingstonCanada
  2. 2.BGC Engineering Inc.GoldenUSA
  3. 3.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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