According to a paper published by researchers from the University of British Columbia, a massive landslide caused a lake tsunami over 100-metres tall. The tsunami sent a vast amount of water into Elliot Creek, while uprooting trees, soil and rock as it bursted down the valley. The slurry was eventually launched in the Southgate River and the Bute Inlet. It left a devastated landscape in its wake.
Lead author and adjunct professor of ecosystem science at UNBC said “imagine a landslide with a mass equal to all of the automobiles in Canada, travelling with the velocity of about 140 kilometers an hour when it runs into a large lake, … The landslide displaced enough water to cause a tsunami with a wave height that exceeded 100 metres. This drained most of the lake water which then travelled down a 10-kilometre-long channel causing widespread channel erosion and loss of salmon habitat.”
According to the study, the slurry of water destroyed 8.5 kilometres of salmon spawning ground. It also sent a plume of sediment and organic matter 60 kilometres into the Blute Inlet.
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