19 September 2016

A great new landslide video: Piz Cengalo

Posted by Dave Petley

Piz Cengalo landslide video

On 11th September a significant rockfall occurred on Piz Cengalo, a peak located in the Swiss alps on the border with Italy in the canton of Grabunden.  This is a peak that has had significant landsliding in recent years, most notably in 2011 when a large landslide involved about 1.5 million cubic metres of rock.

The landslide on 11th September was caught on video from a number of different angles.  Probably the best was collected by Roman Christoffel:



This is an unusually clear video of such an event that captures in particular the transition from free fall to rock avalanche beautifully:-

Piz Cengalo

Rockfall and rock avalanche on Piz Cengalo. Video by Roman Christoffel via Youtube


The landslide was also captured from two other angles.  This angle in particular is fabulous in the way that it shows the evolution of the rock avalanche and associated dust cloud:


Whilst this one shows the latter stages of the runout of the Piz Cengalo rock avalanche:


And finally a more distant view of the same event:


I cannot really think of another landslide that has been caught so well from so many different angles simultaneously.

Il Grigione Italiano has a nice article (in Italian though Google Translate does a good job) about the landslides.  This suggests that the 11th September landslide on Piz Cengalo had a volume of about 100,000 to 150,000 cubic metres.  As such this is small compared with the events of five years ago, and the runout meant that the damage was limited.  Nonetheless, the authorities are clearly (and rightly) mindful of the continued landslide activity at this site and are maintaining the closure of some local hiking trails.

Posts on a similar topic:

Thanks to my former student Dr James Glover for the heads up about this event.