Massive rock topple at Canyon de Furnas in Brazil kills 10 people, injures 32

Massive rock topple at Canyon de Furnas in Brazil kills 10 people, injures 32

At least 10 people have been killed and 32 others injured after a massive chunk of rocks toppled onto boaters in Canyon de Furnas, Brazil. The event took place on Saturday, January 8, 2022, after a period of heavy rain. 4 boats were affected, of which two directly.

The site is a part of a reservoir created by the large Furnas Dam on the Rio Grande just downstream of Canyon de Furnas.

The event occurred after heavy rainfall and at a time when the water level behind the dam was high, landslides expert Dr. Dave Petley said.1

The tragic event was captured on video (viewer discretion advised).

"The failure itself is a classic flexural topple, in which failure is dominated by vertical or near-vertical structures in the rock mass," Petley said.

"The second part of the video [above] also captures the minute or so leading up to the main failure, in which the rock mass is (with hindsight) progressively deforming, generating a succession of rockfalls."

"This precursory activity is common. Once again the message needs to be that if a rock slope is generating a succession of rockfalls then a large failure event might be developing."

At least 10 people have been killed, all apparently from a single boat that was hit directly by the rock pillar. 32 others have been injured in other nearby boats.2

The head of the Applied Geology Division of the Brazilian Geological Service, Tiago Antonelli, said the cliff wall is subject to centuries of erosion and susceptible to rain, heat and cold.


1 The fatal flexural topple at Canyon de Furnas in Brazil - Landslide Blog

2 Death toll rises to 10 after a wall of rock fell on boaters in a Brazilian lake - AP

Featured image credit: TikTube edits


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Jorge Furtado 13 days ago

An entirely avoidable tragedy. The unmistakable signals that nature gave in advance were treated by tourists in an irresponsible, ignorant and frighteningly stupid way.

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