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'Moving' Norway mountain puts residents on red alert

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The unstable mountain formation Mannen has been under close observation for years. Photo: Ekseth/Gedde-Dahl / NTB scanpix
10:14 CEST+02:00
Part of the mountain Mannen in Romsdalen has moved as much as 10 centimetres per day due to heavy rainfall, leading to a ‘red alert' and evacuations as officials predict an impending landslide.
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) said on Wednesday morning that movement in the mountain has slowed, but kept its official warning level on red. 
 
“At its peak, the mountain moved at a speed of 10cm per day, which is a lot. The movements are somewhat diminished since yesterday afternoon, and the rate is now around 2cm a day,” NVE geologist Ingrid Skrede said at a press conference Wednesday.
 
“Right now it's -1C with snow up there, so less water will come into to the system. Thus, the movements are slowing,” Skrede continued. 
 
It is the upper part of the mountain chain Veslemannen that is showing the greatest movement. 
 
On Tuesday NVE said that it believes that at least a minor landslide is likely. 
 
“It's hard to say what will happen to the mountain, so we are constantly considering the likelihood of landslides,” NVE communications director Kjetil Hillestad said.
 
According to Skrede, some 55 mm of rainfall has fallen on the mountain over the past 24 hours.
 
Due to NVE's red alert, three households in the area were evacuated on Tuesday. 
 
“The evacuees are taking the situation calmly, but stated that it [a landslide] is bound to happen sooner or later,”  Mayor Lars Olav Hustad in Rauma Municipality said on Tuesday. 
 
Hustad says everyone, including those who have been evacuated, are hoping for a landslide. The unstable mountain has been under close monitoring since 2009 and heavy movements also led to an evacuation last year. 

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“Now we are just waiting for nature to sort it out,” said the mayor. 
 
Veslemannen (The Little Man) is a relatively small but very active portion of the unstable formation Mannen in Romsdal. While the annual movements are a few centimetres per year, the most active part of Veslemannen has shifted slightly over one metre over the past year.
 
Veslemannen is about 1,200 metres above sea level and has a volume of 120,000 to 180,000 cubic metres - about one percent of the total volume of Mannen.

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