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On September 23, 2023, a landslide occurred in Stenungsund, Sweden.

Dave Petley, the author of The Landslide Blog, is known as a global authority on the research and control of landslides.

Image of a landslide partially covered with a transparent sand-colored overlay and the words “The Landslide Blog,” centered, in white

On 23 September 2023 a very significant landslide occurred at Stenungsund in Sweden, causing extensive damage to a major road, the E6 motorway between Gothenburg and Oslo (across the border in Norway) and a number of buildings. Fortunately, no-one was killed, but three people were injured when their cars crashed on the margins of the landslide.

Devoted follower Anton Larsson was the first to bring attention to this occurrence on Twitter – thank you – and even shared these pictures of the aftermath.

According to the picture, a landslide has resulted in significant movement of land, affecting two roads, including the motorway on the edge of Stenungsund, and causing damage to multiple buildings.

During a landslide, I advise my students to examine the toe and crown of the slide as they can offer insight into the cause. A Swedish blog has published an article that follows this approach, using detailed drone photos. Lars Wilderäng, the author, shared a high-resolution image of the crown of the landslide on Twitter.

It is evident that significant construction was taking place in the upper part of the current landslide area, which is referred to as a landfill operating with authorization. The latest Google Earth images from 2021 (despite the label on the image) display this active area.

Google Earth image of the site of the 23 September 2023 landslide at Stenungsund in Sweden.

A satellite image from Google Earth showing the location of a landslide that occurred on September 23, 2023 in Stenungsund, Sweden.

Planet images from September 17, 2023, shortly before the landslide occurred, show that the landfill area had significantly expanded.

Planet satellite image image of the site of the 23 September 2023 landslide at Stenungsund in Sweden.

The satellite image of the Stenungsund site in Sweden on September 23, 2023, was captured by Planet and is protected by copyright. It was taken on September 17, 2023, and used with permission.

One possible theory is that the weight of the material accumulated on the headscarp of the landslide caused the slope to become unstable and led to its collapse. The weather during the incident was characterized by rain, and there has been significant precipitation in recent days, although it was not unusually high.

It is clear that a major priority at this time is to determine the cause of the events in the headscarp region. According to Swedish newspapers, the incidents are currently under investigation as a potential environmental violation.

The current road closure is causing significant issues, leading to a push to reopen the motorway quickly. Finding a permanent solution for a landslide of this magnitude will require a significant amount of time.

Reference and acknowledgements

Team Planet (2023). Planet API: Connecting Earth and Space for Sustainable Living. Located in San Francisco, CA. Accessible at

Thank you so much to the dedicated followers who brought this to my attention, especially those who shared links and information, like Pascal Orrit, Nik Kelly, and Anton Larsson, among others. It was very helpful.

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This content is © 2023 by the authors and is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

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