Images from Iceland
EU Contract no. EVG1-CT2002-00059


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  • The village of Seydisfjordur (population 750) in Easter Iceland experienced the worst avalanche disaster in Iceland's history in 1885. A memorial to that event, constructed from beams bent by the avalanche, can be found near the church:

  • xxxxxxSeydisfjordur memorial

  • Major avalanches from the northern slopes above Seydisfjordur seem to occur when an avalanche high on the mountain side triggers the movement of snow on a plateay lying some 400 m above the village. Existing work has focused on reducing the potential for such an event by constructing a catching dam on the plateau. Higher frequency events releasing from the slopes directly above the village have not been dealt with yet. The main dam is the highest constructed in Iceland at 20 m:

  • xxxxxxThe main dam at Seydisfjordur xxxxxxThe main dam at Seydisfjordur

  • There is also a second dam to constrain flow from a slightly different direction:

  • xxxxxxThe extra dam at Seydisfjordur

  • The slopes above and below the dams are steep as shown here from various perspectives.

  • xxxxxxSeydisfjordur dam and slopes xxxxxxSeydisfjordur fjord

    xxxxxxSeydisfjordur church and slopes xxxxxxSeydisfjordur from the dam
  • There are a large number of avalanche paths above the town of Neskaupstadur (population = 1500) in eastern Iceland. As yet, only one of these has attracted defensive measures. The strategy adopted combines snow nets in the starting zone to hold back the snowcover with a dam protecting the houses. The first two images show the starting zone and the nets:

  • xxxxxxNeskaupstadur avalanche path xxxxxxSnow nets
    xxxxxxSnow nets

  • The retaining wall has had to be positioned much further upslope than is ideal because of the proximity of the houses. This has meant that the design is supplemented by two rows of mounds that are designed to extract energy from the flow before it reaches the wall. These mounds were designed based on flume experiments performed as part of the CADZIE and SATSIE projects.

  • xxxxxxNeskaupstadur avalanche path xxxxxxNeskaupstadur avalanche path

  • Close-up views of the wall and mounds:

  • xxxxxxNeskaupstadur mounds xxxxxxNeskaupstadur mounds
    xxxxxxNeskaupstadur mounds xxxxxxNeskaupstadur mounds

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Images by Thierry Faug, Tomas Johannesson and Chris Keylock

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