Is time running out for one of Norway's most iconic tourist attractions?
Global media reports suggest that a concerning crack in the famous cliff near Stavanger might be getting bigger. Preikestolen, which is known in English as Pulpit Rock, is a 604-metre-high cliff above the Lysefjord that attracted approximately 300,000 hikers last year.
A widening crack
According to The Local and Conde Nast Traveller, the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) will begin monitoring a half-metre wide gap within the cliff far more closely than ever before. The crack has been known about since the 1930s, and several years ago bolts were installed inside the rock so that geologists could measure any changes.
In May, geologists indicated that the gap had increased (albeit slightly) in size for the first time in over twenty years. While experts say there’s no cause for panic, the study of the cliff will increase significantly. 3D models are planned to enable a full stability analysis, along with aerial footage captured via helicopter.
The risk is real
While Preikestolen seems safe for now, NGU are also carrying out studies on a further 32 mountains in the southern fjord region. A spokesperson said they are most concerned with mountains that are above water, because of the risk that a potential collapse could cause a tidal wave.
Although the growth in the crack is limited to millimetres, the risk of mountain collapse in Norway is very real. In 1934, about 2,000,000 cubic metres of rock fell off a mountain from a height of about 700 metres into the Tafjord. The resulting tsunami killed 40 people living on the shore of the fjord, while similar disasters also killed people living near lakes in Sogn og Fjordane. The 2015 movie Bølgen (released in English as The Wave) dramatised a potential repeat.