Tag Archives: Aleksandra Smyrak-Sikora

STORM UPDATE: ‘I was scared when I saw it,’ says UNIS geology student who discovered mountain cracks above Vei 232 apartments


Aleksandra Smyrak-Sikora said she stayed home Tuesday because she was feeling a little ill. But when she saw huge cracks in the mountain above her apartment by the faint light of midday she felt far worse.

“I was scared when I saw it,” said Smyrak-Sikora, a PhD student studying geology at The University Centre in Svalbard who has conducted previous landslide research and took the photo above. “It was several segments.”

The cracks were about 30 meters from a cluster of apartments on Vei 232 in Gruvedalen. She contacted The Governor of Svalbard and geology experts at UNIS, and after analyzing the hillside an order was given at about 4:15 p.m. to the occupants of a dozen apartments – including the one she shares with her husband and 15-month-old daughter – to evacuate them by 6 p.m.