On 30 September 2010, the BGS Landslide Response Team made a visit to a landslide located to the west of Blubberhouses in North Yorkshire along the A59 road, to investigate the failures. Information was collected for the BGS National Landslide Database and geological maps.
Although the landslides did not encroach on the road surface, the A59 was closed between Blubberhouses and Raven’s Peak while remediation work took place.
The landslides at Blubberhouses were reported in the local and national news:
- Landslip causes A59 road closure in North Yorkshire BBC News, 28 September 2010
- Road still closed after landslide Craven Herald, 28 September 2010
The underlying bedrock geology of the area is part of the Carboniferous (Namurian) Millstone Grit Group and comprises fine- to very coarse-grained, feldspathic sandstones interbedded with grey siltstones and mudstones, with subordinate marine shaly mudstone, claystone, coals and seatearths. Although no superficial deposits are mapped at this site it is likely that the landslide involved colluvium and weathered bedrock.
The Blubberhouses 1 landslide has the characteristics of a flow. A spring 20 m up the slope is likely to have contributed to the instability at this site. The fence by the side of the road prevented the flow from moving on to the A59 road.
The Blubberhouses 2 landslide was an earth slide. The failed material had been removed when the visit took place but the area that had failed was clearly visible. Workers at the site suggested that trees uprooted upslope caused the superficial deposits and bracken that overlaid the bedrock to become unstable and slide downslope.
Previous landslide activity
This stretch of the A59 has been prone to landslides in the past; a car was reported to have been covered by earth and rubble by a landslide in 2007.
- Flood havoc as downpour swamps Yorkshire Yorkshire Post, 15 June 2007
The Landslide Response Team recorded two remediated landslides west of the two recent slides, which are likely to have been the site of this previous incident.
All the information about the landslide was collected by the Landslide Response Team, using BGS•SIGMAmobile technology.