01 Nov 2022
01 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Earthquake-induced landslides in Norway

Mathilde Bøttger Sørensen1, Torbjørn Sletten Haga2, and Atle Nesje1 Mathilde Bøttger Sørensen et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, 5020, Norway
  • 2Skanska Norge, Bergen, 5054, Norway

Abstract. Norway is located in an intraplate setting with low to moderate seismicity. The mountainous landscape leads to a high level of landside activity throughout the country. Earthquake-induced landslides (EQIL) are common in seismically active areas, but there are only few studies of EQIL in intraplate regions. We systematically analyse all earthquakes in Norway with magnitudes ≥ 4.5 in the time period 1800–2021 CE. For each event we search for reports of EQIL in the available macroseismic data and in the Norwegian landslide database. We furthermore consider precipitation data from the Norwegian Climate Service Centre to evaluate the role of precipitation in the triggering of the identified potential EQIL. Through this approach, we identified 22 EQIL that have been triggered by 8 earthquakes in the magnitude range 4.5–5.9. The events are widely distributed in northern and southern Norway. The maximum landslide distance limits and landslide-affected areas are much larger than those found in empirical studies of global datasets, and in agreement with data from other intraplate regions. For three of the earthquakes, it seems that landslide triggering was due to a combined effect of precipitation and earthquake ground shaking. Our observations confirm that intraplate earthquakes have potential to trigger EQIL over large distances, most likely due to the low ground motion attenuation in such regions. Slope susceptibility seems to be another important factor in the triggering. Our conclusions demonstrate the importance of considering EQIL potential in earthquake risk management in intraplate regions.

Mathilde Bøttger Sørensen et al.

Status: open (until 13 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2022-266', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2022-266', Reginald Hermanns, 22 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC3: 'Comment on nhess-2022-266', Anonymous Referee #3, 23 Nov 2022 reply

Mathilde Bøttger Sørensen et al.

Mathilde Bøttger Sørensen et al.


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Short summary
Most Norwegian landslides are triggered by rain or snow melt, and earthquakes have not been considered a relevant trigger mechanism even though some cases have been reported. Here we systematically search historical documents and databases and find 22 landslides induced by 8 large Norwegian earthquakes. The Norwegian earthquakes induce landslides at distances and over areas that are much larger than found for global datasets.