Landslide on Dingle Peninsula
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Landslide on Dingle Peninsula

Charise McKeon
Project Manager, Landslide Susceptibility Mapping Project

Dingle Peninsula landslide
On the morning of Sunday, 17 June 2012, a significant coastal landslide occurred on the northern side of the Dingle Peninsula. The site of the failure was on the eastern edge of the uninhabited Sauce Creek between Brandon Head and Brandon Point. At the time of the event the GSI survey vessel, RV Keary was surveying in Dingle Bay as part of INFOMAR’s 2012 survey programme. The RV Keary was able to get as close as possible to the site of the landslide in order to capture the extent of the failure from the best possible angle.

The failure appears to have occurred some 20-30m above sea level with an estimated rupture width of 250m (estimated using a 20m digital elevation model and OSi’s ortho photography). The imagery captured from the RV Keary suggests that the material which failed is a mixture of rock, debris and till and that a substantial amount has slid into the sea below.

Examination of OSi’s ortho photograpgy captured post 2005 suggests that this particular area displayed strong evidence of earlier small scale failures from scars and debris visible near the waterline in the inner area of the cliff face, into Sauce Creek. In addition there is evidence of a major "block" like failure closer to the top of the main slope, a significant elevation difference being visible, which may have lead, initially, to a large debris slide (Google Earth Image 2004). The more recent event seems to have occurred on the lower region of this block, closer to sea level. Imagery examined from 2009 onwards shows clearly that this area has been failing for some time, though not to the extent of the recent event.

Google Earth images
Comparison of Google Earth imagery from 2004 (left image) and 2009 (right image) showing evidence of continuous failure of the slope over a five year period

The event has now been added to the National Landslides Database which is maintained by the GSI. The GSI is currently carrying out landslide susceptibility mapping for two study areas on the east coast and the greater Cork area. It is expected that susceptibility mapping for Kerry and the remainder of Ireland will commence in 2013.

Information on landslides in Ireland can be found at http://www.gsi.ie/Programmes/Quaternary+Geotechnical/Landslides/ and events from the National Landslides database can be viewed and downloaded from GSI’s Public Data Viewer at http://spatial.dcenr.gov.ie/imf/imf.jsp?site=GSI_Simple