Major landslide strikes Brienz-Brinzauls, narrowly missing village, Switzerland

Major landslide strikes Brienz-Brinzauls, narrowly missing village, Switzerland

Late in the night of June 15, 2023, a major landslide occurred at Brienz-Brinzauls, Switzerland, narrowly missing a mountain village whose inhabitants were evacuated last month over fears of a landslide.

A significant landslide took place at Brienz-Brinzauls on the night of June 15, 2023, triggering immediate concerns for the nearby village of Brienz. Fortunately, early reports confirmed that the landslide did not reach or cause any known damage to the village, though it came perilously close.

“According to preliminary information, a large part of Insel collapsed rapidly. There is no indication of damage in the village, with the rocks mass having stopped just in front of the village,” local authorities said in a statement.

In the days leading up to the landslide, there had been an observable increase in rockfall activity. The central part of the landslide, colloquially known as ‘The Island,’ began collapsing on June 13, 2023, with a series of incidents captured on the Blick TV webcam.

The morning following the landslide event, pictures indicated that a substantial mass had slipped, covering a broad area visible from the Blick webcam.

According to initial reports, a deposit 1 m (3.3 feet) high formed right in front of the village’s school building, hinting at the close shave the community had with the landslide. A thorough aerial inspection during daylight is awaited to ascertain any possible damage within the village.

The area had been declared a danger zone of the highest level possible, forcing the closure of two roads and a train line.

Analyses are now urgently needed to assess the remaining risk to the village and the surrounding area, said Dr. Dave Petley of The Landslide Blog. Seismic analyses will provide insights into the precise timing of the landslide, its duration, and the volume of the collapse. As the radar could have continued to function in the dark, the radar data is expected to provide intriguing insights about the event.

Experts have had their eyes on the mountain above the village for centuries, but observers have watched with increasing alarm in the last 20 years as conditions worsened.


1 A major landslide at Brienz-Brinzauls – The Landslide Blog – June 16, 2023

2 Huge landslide misses Swiss mountain village of Brienz ‘by a hair’ – The Guardian – June 16, 2023

Featured image credit: Blick TV | Municipality Albula/Alvra (stillshot)


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