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Advances in Geosciences An open-access journal for refereed proceedings and special publications

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Adv. Geosci., 14, 301-307, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
24 Apr 2008
Using geophysics on a terminal moraine damming a glacial lake: the Flatbre debris flow case, Western Norway
I. Lecomte1,2, I. Thollet3,*, H. Juliussen4,**, and S.-E. Hamran4 1International Centre for Geohazards, P.O.Box 3930, Ullevaal Stadion, 0806 Oslo, Norway
2NORSAR, P.O. Box 53, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
3University of Strasbourg, EOST, 5 rue René Descartes, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France
4University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
*now at: University of Nancy, France
**now at: University of Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway
Abstract. A debris flow occurred on 8 May 2004, in Fjǽrland, Western Norway, due to a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood and a natural terminal moraine failure. The site was investigated in 2004 and 2005, using pre- and post-flow aerial photos, airborne laser scanning, and extensive field work investigations, resulting in a good understanding of the mechanics of the debris flow, with quantification of the entrainment and determination of the final volume involved. However, though the moraine had a clear weak point, with lower elevation and erosion due to overflowing in the melting season, the sudden rupture of the moraine still needs to be explained. As moraines often contain an ice core, a possible cause could be the melting of the ice, inducing a progressive weakening of the structure. Geophysical investigations were therefore carried out in September 2006, including seismic refraction, GPR and resistivity. All methods worked well, but none revealed the presence of ice, though the depth to bedrock was determined. On the contrary, the moraine appeared to be highly saturated in water, especially in one area, away from the actual breach and corresponding to observed water seepage at the foot of the moraine. To estimate future hazard, water circulation through the moraine should be monitored over time.

Citation: Lecomte, I., Thollet, I., Juliussen, H., and Hamran, S.-E.: Using geophysics on a terminal moraine damming a glacial lake: the Flatbre debris flow case, Western Norway, Adv. Geosci., 14, 301-307,, 2008.