Worst mountain disasters
worst mountain disasters
(given in the chronological order):
Hanibal`s army marched toward Rome. During mountain traverse, 18000
soldiers, 2000 horses and 37 elephants lost,
waste number of them killed by avalanches
563. A.C. massive land-slide from the nearby mountains
the Rhone river above the Geneva lake.
Mass of water hit and broke stone made embankment, poured into the
and completely flooded roman settlement of Taurentunum at tha
lake shore. 2000 Romans died.
Part of Mont Granier at the north end of the Chartreuse fell down.
Modern estimates reckon about 1000 dead due to this night time landslide
January 25th, town Villach on the north side of the
Karavanke/Karawanken range in SE Alps. Massive landslide from mt.
caused by an earthquake, flattened the town, killing round
people. These days, town Villach is quiet, almost dull ralilway
It is less known that the town was hit by the
earthquake-caused landslides twice. Second disaster occured on
of December 1690.,
number of victims was never accurately stated.
September 2nd. Arth-Goldau in Scwyz/Switzerland. 20 or so
lightweight slides were followed by massive one from mt. Rossberg.
Estimated 15 million sq. metres of rocks and pebbles hit the walley,
killing 457 in several villages. The villages were never rebuilt.
August 26. Mt.
Willey landslide in Crawford Notch. The Willey Family members hear the
and run out of their house at night. The Willey house is unharmed but
the 9 who left the house are dead.
1892, July 12, an ice-debris flow caused by a sub-glacial
lake having formed under the Glacier de Miage, killed 177 people of
1903, April 29th, town
Frank in the province of Alberta, Kanada was
almost swept by
800 square metres large piece of limestone rock that got
loose from the nearby Turtle mountain.
Exact number of victims not known, 70 bodies were found.
1910, March 1st,
massive avalanche slided off the Cascade
mountain near Wellington/Washington state,
hitting the railway tracks
and, unfortunatelly, the passengers train. Out of 119 passengers on the train, 96
Pamir, Tajikistan, massive mountain landslide destroyed the
village of Usoj, killing 54
and fenced-in the Murghob river, forming
the lake Sarez, 284 metres deep and 53 km wide.
1914-1918, winters of war on the Austrian/Italian front.
Both sides were launching avalanches on purpose by artillery fire.
Estimated number of casualties around 40000, 3000 Austrian soldiers
were killed by avalanches inside 48 hours.
1950/51, winter of the avalanches in the Alps. 1300
avalanches in Switzerland alone.
280 casualties in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France. 6000 acres of
which are natural protection against avalanches, were flattened.
1959, near West Yellowstone. 28 people were killed in a 7.5 quake,
the strongest ever recorded in Montana, when the side of Sheep Mountain slid
into a campground on the Madison River
large slide of the mixed ice and rocks rolled down from the
Huascaran (6768m/2220f) in Peru, destroying 8 villages and
half of the Ranrahirca town. estimated number of victims
3500. Large portion of mt. Huascaran`s western side collapsed,
with remains still hanging.
August 30th, Mattamark/Wallis, Switzerland was a construction site for
a new dam.
Close to the top of the dam, several hundred metres large
block of ice break off the Allaling glacier,
sweeping away workers sheds on the construction site. 88 people died.
Peru was hit by an earthquake, causing the hanging remains of
mt. Huascaran (see 1960. tragedy above) to finally collapse
into the valley. Massive landslides hit the valley of Rio Santa,
killing 10000, another 8000 bodies were found under the debris.
Town Ranrahirca was completely flattened. Only 200 people survived, by
escaping to the town`s highpoint - the local cemetary.
1976 Big Thompson Canyon floods below Rocky Mtn. Park 145 people were
drowned that night. Fellow SP member Desainme
escaped the tragedy
July 28th, Large
portion of the 3066m/10056f high Pizzo Coppetto near town
Bormilo, simply collapsed. 10 million square metres
hit Veltlin and destroyed the village of Aqualone. Thanks to the on
time-alert, people evacuated and, thankfully, death toll was restricted
By still unverified estimations, Pizzo Coppetto is not a 3000er
anymore, elevation of what has left of the mountain, roughly
estimated at some 2500-2600m.
1990, July 13th, massive
snow & ice avalanche killed 43 out of 45 expedition
members at peak Lenin base camp in Pamir.
Worst tragedy and largest loss of human lives in the mountaineering
1993, end of September, Abkhazian troops push the Georgian troops from Abkhazia after years of violence and fighting; between 160 000 and 250 000 Georgians are forces to flee Abkhazia; many of them die as they try to cross the passes into Svaneti, some sources say up to 10000 perished in the mountains of the Caucasus.
1995, winter, Catastrophic avalanches hitting the northwestern Iceland towns of
Flateyri and Súðavík, killing 34 people.
1999, February 23rd,
187000 of snow break loose from the Grieskopf, hitting the village of
Galtür at 420 km/h speed.
31 people died.
2000, November 11th,
funicular railway caugth by fire in the middle of the tunnel,
while transferring skiers to the Schmiedinger glacier,
north of the Kitzsteinhorn peak. 156 people died. Considered a
worst tragedy in the mountain tourismus by now
2002, September 20th, northern slope of the Mkinvartsveri (Kazbek) massif, North Ossetia, Russian Caucasus.
In a cirque just west of Mkinvartsveri (Kazbek),
chunks of rock and hanging glacier on the north face of Mt.
Dzhimarai-Khokh tumbled onto the Kolka
Kolka collapsed, setting off a massive avalanche of ice, snow, and rocks of about 100×106 m3 volume,
that poured into the Genaldon River valley.
Hurtling downriver nearly 8 miles, the avalanche exploded into the
a small bowl of land between two mountain ridges, and swallowed the
village of Nizhniy Karmadon and several other settlements,
causing the death of ca. 140 people
and massive destruction
A similar event
happened at Kolka twice before, more significant collapse at Kolka
Glacier killed 32 people
whilst glacier surged in 1969.
Historical accounts indicate that similar events have
happened in neighboring valleys, as well.
NASA Earth Observatory page about the Kolka glacier collaps (Caucasus Russia)
USGS - Glacier Hazards in Peru
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