27 February 2023
Kandersteg: a massive rock slope failure in Switzerland caught on video
On 23 February 2023 a large rock slope failure occurred in Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. The failure, which had a volume in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 cubic metres, was from the Allmenalp. The rock slope collapse had been anticipated, so that no loss of life occurred, and there was no damage to buildings.
The event was captured on several videos, of which this is probably the best:-
SRF News has a good article about the event, in German, which notes that the block was being monitored using radar, allowing a warning to be issued. The article includes a short archive film about the use of monitoring in the area.
The location of the rockfall is about [46.491, 7.658]. This image shows the aftermath of the rockfall:-
This is an area of frequent rock slope failures. Previous events have occurred from Allmenalp in 2008 and in 2018, for example. On the other side of the valley is the Spitzer Stein area above Lake Oeschinen, in which active rock slope deformation is occurring. This is a much larger volume – about 20 million cubic metres. Geotest has a nice article about its work monitoring the site, whilst Swissinfo has a short video showing the scale of the hazard at this location.
Thanks to Doris Hermle of TUM, who made me aware of this event.