Natural Resources

Rockfalls

Date: June, 2010

Location: Englee

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Fatalities: 0

Injuries: 0

Source: Observations by Martin Batterson

A series of small rockfalls occurred behind the residence of Francis and Stella Compton in Englee. The residents noted that rockfall activity has increased in the past several years. Several small rockfalls have occurred. The maximum size of material from the most recent slides is approximately 50 x 30 x 20 cm. Most blocks were smaller. One piece is reported to have impacted the footwall of the house resulting in minor damage.

The bedrock (Middle to Late Cambrian dolostone of the Port au Port Group) is steeply dipping (approximately 70 degrees) towards the houses, well bedded with bedding planes 2 to 10 cm thick, and exhibits a fine cracking pattern on bedding plane surfaces. These factors combined with active freeze-thaw cycles will contribute to a continued rockfall problem in this area. The history of events in the same area confirms the issue has existed for some time. Most of the debris from the rockfalls described to date have been relatively small (compared to the events at Upper Island Cove in 1999, for instance), and slab-shaped. Most material is falling to the base of the slope and not impacting the house (although minor damage was indicated by the resident).


View of rear of Compton residence. Note steeply dipping bedrock and proximity of bedrock face to house.


Bedrock material from adjacent cliff (to right). Note plastic bag for scale. This material damaged the sleigh at the base of the slope. (Photograph courtesy of Comptons).

 
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