This editorial is intended to bring to our minds the 50th 8 Anniversary of the Vajont Landslide occurred on 9 October 9 1963 at 10.39 pm in Italy, in the Dolomites of Friuli, on the 10 borders of the Veneto Region and about 100 km north of 11 Venice. A mass of approximately 270–300 million m3 of 12 rock and debris collapsed into the reservoir generating a 13 wave that over-topped the 261.6 m high double curved 14 arch dam built across a V-shaped gorge (Fig. 1). The flood 15 wave dropped into the Piave Valley destroying the town of 16 Longarone and other villages nearby. More than 2,000 17 people (the real number is not known) were killed. 18 The Vajont landslide is considered to be one of the most 19 catastrophic slope failures and is an outstanding and 20 valuable reference case history for the study and back 21 analysis of the complex instability mechanisms which 22 generally characterize deep-seated landslides and rock 23 slopes. This dramatic event is also of particular importance 24 for the understanding of the influence of mountainside 25 reservoirs on the stability of the adjacent slopes, when 26 deep-seated landslides are present which were not dis- 27 closed or fully investigated at the design stage. 28 At the same time, interest stems from the need to find 29 the most appropriate investigation techniques to be adopted 30 at the design stage, including suitable numerical modelling 31 methods to be used for the analysis of instability modes and 32 simulation of the interaction between the rock mass and the new infrastructures to be built. Also the re-analysis of the 33 available database on the triggering and subsequent prop- 34 agation of the landslide may shed light on monitoring 35 methods—with conventional and advanced technologies— 36 used as key components of hazard assessment. This is of 37 particular relevance for those countries where the need for 38 energy and development leads to the construction of new 39 infrastructures, including dams, of unprecedented sizes. 40 It is noted that this editorial is only intended to remind 41 us what is considered to be the starting point for the 42 development of modern Rock Mechanics and Rock Engi- 43 neering, when in rock as well as in soil, according to 44 Terzaghi ‘we were over-stepping the limits of our ability to 45 predict the consequences of our actions’ (Hoek 2007). 46 With the intent to account for the most recent and updated 47 studies on the Vajont landslide, the Editor has asked the 48 help of Professor Paolo Paronuzzi from the University of 49 Udine who, together with his research group, has been and 50 is carrying out a comprehensive research project on dif- 51 ferent aspects and debated questions still posed on the 52 Vajont catastrophic landslide

The 1963 Vajont Landslide: 50th Anniversary

Paronuzzi P.
2013

Abstract

This editorial is intended to bring to our minds the 50th 8 Anniversary of the Vajont Landslide occurred on 9 October 9 1963 at 10.39 pm in Italy, in the Dolomites of Friuli, on the 10 borders of the Veneto Region and about 100 km north of 11 Venice. A mass of approximately 270–300 million m3 of 12 rock and debris collapsed into the reservoir generating a 13 wave that over-topped the 261.6 m high double curved 14 arch dam built across a V-shaped gorge (Fig. 1). The flood 15 wave dropped into the Piave Valley destroying the town of 16 Longarone and other villages nearby. More than 2,000 17 people (the real number is not known) were killed. 18 The Vajont landslide is considered to be one of the most 19 catastrophic slope failures and is an outstanding and 20 valuable reference case history for the study and back 21 analysis of the complex instability mechanisms which 22 generally characterize deep-seated landslides and rock 23 slopes. This dramatic event is also of particular importance 24 for the understanding of the influence of mountainside 25 reservoirs on the stability of the adjacent slopes, when 26 deep-seated landslides are present which were not dis- 27 closed or fully investigated at the design stage. 28 At the same time, interest stems from the need to find 29 the most appropriate investigation techniques to be adopted 30 at the design stage, including suitable numerical modelling 31 methods to be used for the analysis of instability modes and 32 simulation of the interaction between the rock mass and the new infrastructures to be built. Also the re-analysis of the 33 available database on the triggering and subsequent prop- 34 agation of the landslide may shed light on monitoring 35 methods—with conventional and advanced technologies— 36 used as key components of hazard assessment. This is of 37 particular relevance for those countries where the need for 38 energy and development leads to the construction of new 39 infrastructures, including dams, of unprecedented sizes. 40 It is noted that this editorial is only intended to remind 41 us what is considered to be the starting point for the 42 development of modern Rock Mechanics and Rock Engi- 43 neering, when in rock as well as in soil, according to 44 Terzaghi ‘we were over-stepping the limits of our ability to 45 predict the consequences of our actions’ (Hoek 2007). 46 With the intent to account for the most recent and updated 47 studies on the Vajont landslide, the Editor has asked the 48 help of Professor Paolo Paronuzzi from the University of 49 Udine who, together with his research group, has been and 50 is carrying out a comprehensive research project on dif- 51 ferent aspects and debated questions still posed on the 52 Vajont catastrophic landslide
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