Geologists who predicted that a mountainside in central Norway would crash down on the valley below withdrew their warnings this week, and local officials allowed residents to return to their homes nearly two months after they were evacuated. The geologists who sounded the alarm in October, however, blamed the media for over-dramatizing the situation.
Their fears regarding the unstable nature of the mountainside prompted officials to evacuate residents, halt train traffic through the valley in Norway’s Romsdal district and continue round-the-clock monitoring. Warnings that the instability would set off a massive rockslide were so specific that photographers set up cameras that would be ready to capture the spectacular event and share it with the public.
It never happened, though, at least not yet, but the geologists were far from being shame-faced or willing to admit they’d been wrong. Instead, chief geologist Lars Harald Blikra claims he tried to get the word out that the mountain known as Mannen might not fall after all, but media outlets ignored him. “The drama around this was set off by the media,” he told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Thursday.
Officials certainly didn’t ignore his warnings though, and didn’t allow passenger train traffic or residents back into the area until Wednesday. They were happy to finally be allowed to return home, and said they felt assured it was safe.
Monitoring continues, however, and now the geologists suggest the mountain may give way in the spring. New warnings and new evacuation orders may thus be issued again.