28 March 2022
Ibri: a large quarry landslide in Al-Dhahirah, Oman
On 27 March 2022 a series of large quarry landslides occurred at Ibri in Al-Dhahirah governorate in Oman. This event was captured on a dramatic video posted to Youtube that I have tweeted to enable an embed here:-
— Dave Petley (@davepetley) March 28, 2022
There are also videos showing later stages of the landslide sequence:-
The image below, from AP, shows one of the later slope collapses:-
Reports indicate that six people were killed in this landslide and that a further five were injured. The rescue and recovery operations were severely hampered by the ongoing rockslide activity. It is unclear as to whether all of the victims have been recovered.
Ibri is a centre for marble quarrying, which is consistent with the stepped structure of the rock mass seen on the left side of the image above.
The marble quarries of Oman are not without controversy. In 2015 the Gulf News reported that quarries in the Ibri area were owned by government minsters, with the products being exported, with low rates of tax being paid, for example.
Catastrophic failures in marble quarries are comparatively rare because the regular jointing can make prediction of the likelihood on instability easier when compared with other rock masses. However, in 2016 there was a fatal collapse of a marble quarry at Colonnata in Italy, where the famous Carrara marble was being extracted. In that case, two workers lost their lives.