Catastrophic rock avalanches contribute to rapid landscape evolution and can harm humans directly or by secondary effects such as displacement waves. Predicting the volume, timing, and consequences of rock slope failures is therefore essential to managing risk and interpreting landscape response to climatic or tectonic forcing. Here, we synthesize geologic and geodetic observations to document the spatial pattern of movement rates and failure mechanisms at a landslide complex in western Norway, recently identified with systematic interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) reconnaissance. A differential global navigation satellite system (dGNSS) and global positioning system (dGPS) campaign confirms active slope deformation with horizontal displacement rates of 1.2 to 2.6 mm year−1 at four points distributed across the landslide’s ~1.8-km width. Displacement vectors are consistent with landslide movement occurring on pre-existing discontinuity sets, and a broad synform controls failure mechanisms within the landslide complex. Two ~1.5 million m3 blocks are wedge failures, while flexural toppling and planar sliding of smaller blocks occur throughout the landslide complex. Modern movement rates are comparable to or slower than Holocene-averaged displacement rates, suggesting continued steady deformation or stabilization of parts of the landslide with time. However, a large volume failure with typical run-out for rock avalanches would likely reach the subjacent fjord, causing a displacement wave. We suggest that our collaborative approach of integrating a wide variety of geologic and geodetic methods will be useful for more thoroughly documenting additional landslide sites and for making informed decisions about risk management.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/adam_booth/7/