The Verdal Landslide Monolith - the deadliest landslide in Norwegian historyKilde:
The memorial Lysthaugen
When driving from Verdal to Sweden alon FV 72, you can see the monolith Lysthaugen, which is placed on the burial site of 33 of those killed during the Verdal landslide. When it beacame challenging to transport the deceased to a church yard, the 33 were borught ashore on this side of the river and a brial site was quickly arranged here.
The monument was put in place the following year and the cemetery was consecrated on 19 May 1894, one year to the day after the fateful landslide. You also have a nice view over Verdal here.
The Verdal Landslide
On the night of May 19th 1893, Verdal was hit by Norway's deadliest landslide in historical time. The Verdal landslide was a quick clay slide and lasted about 1 hour. There were three landslides in succession and it was the last landslide that was the largest.
The quick clay became a liquid that brought down farms, animals and people. The damage was unimaginable. 116 people were killed, 105 farms were destroyed and about 600 livestock died. The entire Verdal was flooded, 3 square kilometers collapsed and 55 million cubic meters of mass buried a 9 square kilometer area with several meters thickness. It is believed that the landslide had a speed of 60 km/hr. The catastrophe came as a surprise to people who were in their deepest sleep, so that they were completely at the mercy to the forces of nature. Many thought it was doomsday.
The autumn had been rainy, the winter was snowy and even spring came with a lot of rain. This caused the quick clay to become unstable and the landslides were triggered. The rescue work began right away. The survivors laid out planks, sleds and fences to get as far out as possible to save people they saw and heard in the land mass. Some also chose to flee because they were afraid of new landslides.
The search area was huge and difficult to keep track of. Eventually hundreds of soldiers came to help and money was allocated. During autumn several larger and smaller slides happened, so it was difficult for those who lived there.
The areas were drained and planted so that they would eventually get soil that arable. Prisoners from Trondheim Prison were used for much of this work. They dug, built roads and planted forests. Eventually it was eager settlers who took on the arduous work.