28 April 2023
Sand in Taufers: an interesting rockslide in Italy
On 24 April 2023 a large boulder was involved in an unusual rockslide in Sand in Taufers, a town located in the Taufers Valley in South Tyrol, northern Italy. The rockslide was captured on a surveillance video that was posted to Youtube. It is rather cool:-
#EINSATZINFO: FF Sand in Taufers – 24.04.23 – 10:07 – Steinschlag auf die Ahrntalerstraße endet glücklicherweise ohne Personen- und Sachschaden – im Einsatz mit Baufirma, Straßendienst und Behörden pic.twitter.com/fckYEVjjlU
— LFV Südtirol 🚒 UVF Alto Adige (@LFVSuedtirol) April 24, 2023
This is quite an unusual rockslide in that it is a single boulder that is sliding, with no rotation, across the grass. This still from the video captures the motion:-
The boulder fortunately missed the large building – it was very close – but inconveniently came to a stop in the road. The Freiwilligen Feuerwehr Sand in Taufers Facebook site has some images of the boulder, its track and the efforts to reopen the road, including this image of the boulder itself:-
The location of this event was [46.933, 11.938]. The slope is the foot of a ski area that only recently closed at the end of the season. This is the Google Earth perspective on the site:-
The unusual movement of this boulder, which looks to be akin to surfing, is probably a combination of the surface properties – grass growing on wet soil that allowed the boulder to slide – and the tabular shape of the boulder itself, which inhibited rotation. I am not sure as to the origin of the boulder, but news articles indicate that another potentially unstable block has been identified and will be made safe.
Thanks to André Stumpf for drawing this most interesting video to my attention.