South Australia & NT Chapter

Kaiapit Landslide, Papua New Guinea

Mark Drechsler

An exceptionally large compound rockslide, with estimated volumes between 1.3 and 2 billion m³, occurred in the Saruwaged Range, Papua New Guinea on the 5th September 1988. The rockslide developed into three major debris avalanches which flowed some 6.5 km down two river valleys and covered an area of about 11 km³, killing seventy four people. Four landslide dams were formed by the debris avalanches. In this presentation, Mark Drechsler described the phenomena of the rock slide and debris avalanches, based on eye witness reports, field observations, seismic response and aerial photographic interpretation. The immediate effect on the local population and continued hazards from large landslides throughout Papua New Guinea are also discussed. The presentation included photographs and a short video which graphically highlighted the power of this natural disaster. Mark is a Senior Engineering Geologist with Parsons Brinckerhoff based in their Adelaide office. He is an Engineering Geologist with over 20 years experience in a wide variety of projects in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

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