THE SKAFJELL ROCK AVALANCHE IN 1731

At 10 o´clock in the evening on January 8th 1731, a large part of the mountain today known as Skafjell fell into the fjord on the opposite side of Stranda. A small farm situated on a headland nearby was struck by the rock avalanche and disappeared.

By Geologist Christer Hoel, M.Sc.
Read more: Rock Avalanches in the Fjords

The avalanche created waves up to 30 meters high, which flowed some 100 meters inwards land in Stranda, destroying all boat houses except for two, and all boats laying by land. Boats were thrown inwards land, even into the grave yard by the church. The church was damaged to the extent that it had to be erased and rebuilt as a new church.

 

Skafjell by Stranda with the slide scar.

The Skafjell Avalanche
Stranda and Skafjell by Storfjorden.

The population in the area had long time before the accident spoken about a large fracture 500 meters up in the mountain which was widening out.

The written sources say that in all 17 people lost their lives in this accident.

The tsunamis created damage as far away as in Ørskog longer to the north, and must have done the same in other directions too.

The memorial at Stranda.

The waves must also have been large in places like Hellesylt, Geiranger and Tafjord. It was reported that the waves could be noticed 70 kilometers away.

According to the reports the enormous mountain part which had caused the tsumamis, possibly 6 million cubic meters of rock, had literally sunk into the sea.

This was the first accident of its kind in historic time in Norway to be reported and documented.

 

Stranda in our time.

Film showing Stranda and adjacent areas. Video: Per Johan Alnes

References

FJORDS – Useful Links:

Fjord Tours: Norway in a Nutshell
Fjord Tours: Plan and book fjord travel, accommodation and activities
Go Fjords: Big and Small Fjord Experiences
Fjord Pass: Great Discounts on Activities and Attractions in the Fjords
Visit Norway: Official page for Norway
Fjord Norway: Official page for Fjord Norway