23 March 2020
Alborz mountains in Iran: an extraordinary rockfall video
On 20 March 2020 a major rockfall / boulder roll occurred in the Alborz mountains of Iran. It was caught on a video that has been posted to Youtube:-
As the video shows, this boulder rolled through a village, which is reported to called “Pit Sara” in Savadkuh County in Mazandaran Province. The rockfall (or boulder roll) was triggered by heavy rainfall. It reportedly destroyed four houses, two cattle sheds a bridge and four vehicles. Reports suggest that the volume of the rock was about 30 cubic metres.
This still from the video shows the moment that the boulder ploughed through one of the houses. Fortunately, the village had been evacuated ahead of the boulder roll event:-
The video also captures the aftermath of the boulder roll event, showing total destruction of anything in its path:-
The Alborz range, also spelled as Alburz, Elburz or Elborz, is a mountain range in northern Iran that stretches from the border of Azerbaijan along the western and entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea and finally runs northeast and merges into the Aladagh Mountains in the northern parts of Khorasan … Mount Damavand, the highest mountain in Iran measuring 5,610.0 m (18,405.5 ft), is located in the Central Alborz Mountains.
There is a grey literature paper on landslides in the Alborz Mountains (NB pdf), which indicates that this is an area with a very significant landslide issue, triggered by both rainfall (as in this case) and earthquakes.
This event is quite reminiscent of the well-known and very spectacular 21 January 2014 Tramin (Termino) rockfall / boulder roll in the South Tyrol in Italy.