The 1978 Quick Clay Landslide at Rissa, Mid Norway: Subaqueous Morphology and Tsunami Simulations

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research book series (NTHR, volume 31)


The 1978 landslide at Rissa is the largest to have struck Norway during the last century and is world-famous because it was filmed. Swath bathymetry data and seismic reflection profiles reveal detailed information about the subaqueous morphology of the mass-transport deposits (MTD). Results show that the landslide affected nearly 20% of the lake floor and that it exhibits a complex morphology including distinct lobes, transverse ridges, longitudinal ridges, flow structures and rafted blocks. The rafted blocks found at the outer-rim of the MTD travelled a distance of over 1,000 m in the early stage of the landslide on an almost flat basin floor. Simulation of sediment dynamics and tsunami modelling show that the rafted blocks most likely triggered the flood wave with a recorded maximum surface elevation of 6.8 m.


Rissa landslide Quick clay Coastal setting Mass transport deposits Mobility Numerical simulations Tsunami modelling 



We thank O. Totland and J.A. Dahl for their help during the acquisition of the geophysical data and are grateful to G. Corner and M. Vanneste for their constructive reviews. This is contribution no. 357 of the International Centre for Geohazards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) & International Centre for Geohazards (ICG)TrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Geological Survey of Norway (NGU)TromsøNorway
  3. 3.Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) & ICGOsloNorway

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