If an unstable Alaska mount slope fully collapses, a catastrophic tsunami in Harriman Fjord could be triggered, a group of experts warns.
An open letter signed by 14 scientists with expertise in landslides, tsunamis and climate change warns of an unstable mountain slope above the leading edge of the retreating Barry Glacier in Alaska.
This pending landslide could spawn an enormous tsunami in Harriman Fjord, which is located some 60 miles from Anchorage, which is home to an estimated 291,000 residents.
"A complete failure could be destructive throughout Barry Arm, Harriman Fjord, and parts of Port Wells. Our initial results show complex impacts further from the landslide than Barry Arm, with over 30-foot waves in some distant bays, including Whittier," the experts write.
"This tsunami could impact areas frequented by tourists, fishing vessels, and hunters (potentially hundreds of people at one time)," the scientists warn.
The slope is moving slowly now, but it could turn into a fast-moving landslide at any moment, possibly triggered by major rainfall, lots of snow or an earthquake.