Chunk of Swiss peak breaks off in massive rockslide
Jan 3, 2012, 18:18 GMT
Chur, Switzerland/Vienna - Up to 4 million cubic metres of granite have broken off a remote peak in the Swiss Alps, the forest authority in the southern canton of Graubuenden told dpa Tuesday.
The rockslide below the peak of the 3,370-metre Piz Cengalo was possibly the largest in several decades in Switzerland, said Christian Wilhelm, the forest authority's expert for natural hazards.
'It is an extraordinarily big mass,' he said.
The incident took place last week, but Swiss media reported it only on Tuesday, because it happened in an uninhabited area untouched by traffic or winter tourists, at an altitude of some 3,000 metres.
However, the rumble was detected in the small community of Soglio, some 5 kilometres away.
'Villagers heard it and went to have a look,' said Curdin Mengelt, another forest authority expert.
He explained that ice had accumulated in crevices of the ragged mountain, acting like an explosive.