North

Northern Quebec landslide last month was a record-breaker

The landslide last month was 1.8 kilometres long and 500 metres wide. It sent 45 million cubic tonnes of debris into the Great Whale River, just eight kilometres upstream from Cree and Inuit villages.

At 1.8 kilometre-long landslide sent 45 million cubic metres of debris into Great Whale River

The landslide was located approximately eight kilometres upstream from the side-by-side Cree and Inuit villages of Whapmagoostui and Kuujjuarapik, located 1,700 kilometres north of Montreal on Hudson’s Bay. (Kativik Regional Government/ Cree Nation Government)

A huge landslide last month in northern Quebec is the longest on record and the second largest, according to officials with Kativik Regional Government, Cree Nation Government, along with local leaders from Whapmagoostui and Kuujjuarapik. 

"The landslide covers a span of 1.8 kilometres in length and 500 metres in width along the riverbank — the longest landslide ever recorded," according to a joint new release. 

With over 45 million cubic metres of debris spilling into the Great Whale River, it is also the second largest one in 150 years of keeping records. 

The earth gave way on the morning of April 22, approximately eight kilometres upstream from the side-by-side Cree and Inuit villages of Whapmagoostui and Kuujjuarapik, which are 1,700 kilometres north of Montreal on Hudson's Bay.

The area remains under close observation, but local elder advisor, George Kawapit said there is no immediate concern. 

It may take months if not years for the river to return to its normal course.​​​​- Denis Demers, Quebec Ministry of Transportation

"As long as the river is flowing and we continue to monitor the ice. This is due to very small snowfall in comparison to previous years," said Kawapit in a news release after a virtual meeting between local and provincial officials last week. 

The area remains under close observation, but local elder advisor George Kawapit said there is no immediate concern. (Kativik Regional Government/ Cree Nation Government)

Denis Demers, a Quebec Ministry of Transportation landslide expert, also spoke at the meeting.  

"The worst is over. The major part of the debris from the landslide has spilled into the river," said Demers.

"It may take months, if not years, for the river to return to its normal course."

Provincial experts are expected to travel to the area sometime this week once they have a chance to study topographic data from the site, according to local officials. 

Local leaders will create a safety buffer zone around the landslide to warn residents of both communities to the potential dangers in the area.

Further updates are expected after the experts complete their assessment of the soil and riverbanks near the landslide.

'The worst is over. The major part of the debris from the landslide has spilled into the river,' said Denis Demers, a Quebec Ministry of Transportation landslide expert. (Kativik Regional Government/ Cree Nation Government)

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