The Vajont Dam (or Vaiont Dam) is a disused dam, completed in 1959 in the valley of the Vajont River under Monte Toc, in the municipality of Erto and Casso, 100 km (60 miles) north of Venice, Italy. One of the tallest dams in the world, it is 262 metres (860 ft) high, 27 metres (89 ft) wide and 22.11 metres (72 ft 6 in) thick at the base and 191 metres (627 ft) wide and 3.4 metres (11 ft 2 in) thick at the top.
The dam was conceived in the 1920s, designed by Carlo Semenza, and eventually built between 1957 and 1960 by Società Adriatica di Elettricità ("SADE", or "EDIS") (English: Adriatic Energy Corporation), the electricity supply and distribution monopoly in northeastern Italy, which was owned by Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata. In 1962 the dam was nationalized and came under the control of ENEL as part of the Italian Ministry for Public Works. It was described as 'the tallest dam in the world', intended to meet the growing demands of industrialization, and as of 2010 is still one of the tallest in the world.
On 9 October 1963, during initial filling, a massive landslide caused a man-made megatsunami in the lake in which 50 million cubic metres of water overtopped the dam in a wave of 250 metres (820 ft), leading to the complete destruction of several villages and towns, and 1,917 deaths. This event occurred when the company and the Italian government dismissed evidence and concealed reports describing the geological instability of Monte Toc on the southern side of the basin, and other early warning signs reported prior to the disaster. Numerous warnings, signs of danger, and negative appraisals had been disregarded, and the eventual attempt to safely control the landslide into the lake by lowering its level came when the landslide was almost imminent and was too late to prevent it. Although the dam itself remained almost intact, and two thirds of the water was retained behind it, the landslide was much larger than expected and the impact brought massive flooding and destruction to the Piave valley below. Although the wave only contained a third of the dam's contents, it was still ten times higher than calculations had predicted.
|Official name||Vajont dam|
|Operator(s)||SADE - Società Adriatica di Elettricità|
|Dam and spillways|
|Height||262 metres (860 ft)|
|Length||160 metres (520 ft) (chord)|
|Width (base)||27 metres (89 ft) (89 ft)|
|Creates||Lago del Vajont|
The dam was built by SADE (Società Adriatica di Elettricità, English: Adriatic Energy Corporation), the electricity supply and distribution monopoly in northeastern Italy. The owner, Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, had been Mussolini's Minister of Finances for several years. The 'tallest dam in the world', across the Vajont gorge, was conceived in the 1920s to control and harness the river Piave, river Mae and the Boite stream, and to meet the growing demand for power generation and industrialization, but not until the confusion after Mussolini's fall during World War II was the project authorized on 15 October 1943.
The dam wall had a volume of 360,000 m³ and held up to 168,715,000 cubic meters of water. The dam and basin were intended to be at the centre of a complex system of water management in which water would have been channeled from nearby valleys and artificial basins located at higher levels. Tens of kilometres of concrete pipes and pipe-bridges across valleys were planned.
In the 1950s, SADE's monopoly was confirmed by post-fascist governments and it bought the land despite opposition by the communities of Erto and Casso in the valley, which was overcome with government and police support. SADE stated that the geology of the gorge had been studied, including analysis of ancient landslides, and that the mountain was believed to be sufficiently stable.
Construction work started in 1957, but by 1959 shifts and fractures were noticed while building a new road on the side of Monte Toc. This led to new studies in which three experts separately told SADE that the entire side of Monte Toc was unstable and would likely collapse into the basin if the filling were completed. All three were ignored by SADE. Construction was completed in October 1959, and in February 1960, SADE was authorised to start filling the basin. In 1962 the dam was nationalized and came under the control of ENEL as part of the Italian Ministry for Public Works.
On March 22, 1959, during construction of the Vajont dam, a landslide at the nearby Pontesei dam created a 20-meter (66 ft) high wave that killed one person.
Throughout the summer of 1960, minor landslides and earth movements were noticed. However, instead of heeding these warning signs, the Italian government chose to sue the handful of journalists reporting the problems for "undermining the social order".
On 4 November 1960, with the water level in the reservoir at about 190 metres (620 ft) of the planned 262 metres (860 ft), a landslide of about 800,000 cubic metres (1,000,000 cu yd) collapsed into the lake. SADE stopped the filling, lowered the water level by about 50 metres (160 ft), and started to build an artificial gallery in the basin in front of Monte Toc to keep the basin usable even if additional landslides (which were expected) divided it into two parts.
In October 1961, after the completion of the gallery, SADE resumed filling the narrow reservoir under controlled monitoring. In April and May 1962, with the basin water level at 215 metres (705 ft), the people of Erto and Casso reported five "grade five" Mercalli intensity scale earthquakes. SADE downplayed the importance of these quakes. SADE was then authorized to fill the reservoir to the maximum level.
In July 1962, SADE's own engineers reported the results of model-based experiments on the effects of further landslides from Monte Toc into the lake. The tests indicated that a wave generated by a landslide could top the crest of the dam if the water level was 20 metres (66 ft) or less from the dam crest. It was therefore decided that a level 25 metres (82 ft) below the crest would prevent any displacement wave from over-topping the dam. However, a decision was made to fill the basin beyond that, because the engineers thought they could control the rate of the landslide by controlling the level of water in the reservoir.
In March 1963, the dam was transferred to the newly constituted government service for electricity, ENEL. During the following summer, with the basin almost completely filled, slides, shakes, and movements of the ground were continuously reported by the alarmed population. On 15 September, the entire side of the mountain slid down by 22 centimetres (8.7 in). On 26 September, ENEL decided to slowly empty the basin to 240 metres (790 ft), but in early October the collapse of the mountain's south side looked unavoidable: one day it moved almost 1 metre (3.3 ft).
On 9 October 1963, engineers saw trees falling and rocks rolling down into the lake where the predicted landslide would take place. Before this, the alarming rate of movement of the landslide had not slowed as a result of lowering the water, although the water had been lowered to what SADE believed was a safe level to contain the displacement wave should a catastrophic landslide occur. With a major landslide now imminent, engineers gathered on top of the dam that evening to witness the tsunami.
At 10:39 p.m., a massive landslide of about 260,000,000 cubic metres (340,000,000 cu yd) of forest, earth, and rock fell into the reservoir at up to 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph), completely filling the narrow reservoir behind the dam. The landslide was complete in just 45 seconds, much faster than predicted, and the resulting displacement of water caused 50,000,000 cubic metres (65,000,000 cu yd) of water to overtop the dam in a 250-metre (820 ft) high wave.
The flooding from the huge wave in the Piave valley destroyed the villages of Longarone, Pirago, Rivalta, Villanova and Faè, killing around 2,000 people and turning the land below the dam into a flat plain of mud with an impact crater 60 metres (200 ft) deep and 80 metres (260 ft) wide. Many small villages near the landslide along the lakefront also suffered damage from a giant displacement wave. Villages in the territory of Erto e Casso and the village of Codissago, near Castellavazzo, were largely wrecked.
Estimates of the dead range from 1,900 to 2,500 people, and about 350 families lost all members. Most of the survivors had lost relatives and friends along with their homes and belongings.
The dam was largely undamaged. The top 1 metre (3.3 ft) or so of masonry was washed away, but the basic structure remained intact and still exists today.
Immediately after the disaster, the government (which at the time owned the dam), politicians and public authorities insisted on attributing the tragedy to an unexpected and unavoidable natural event.
The debate in the newspapers was heavily influenced by politics. The paper l'Unità, the mouthpiece of the Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI), was the first to denounce the actions of the management and government, as it had previously carried a number of articles by Tina Merlin addressing the behaviour of the SADE management in the Vajont project and elsewhere. Indro Montanelli, then the most influential Italian journalist and a vocal anti-communist, attacked l'Unità and denied any human responsibility; l'Unità and the PCI were dubbed "jackals, speculating on pain and on the dead" in many articles by the Domenica del Corriere and a national campaign poster paid for by Democrazia Cristiana (DC). The catastrophe was attributed only to natural causes and God's will.
The campaign accused the PCI of sending agitprops into the refugee communities, as relief personnel; most of them were partisans from Emilia Romagna who fought on Mount Toc in the Second World War and often had friends in the stricken area.
Democrazia Cristiana, the party of prime minister Giovanni Leone, accused the Communist Party of 'political profiteering' from the tragedy. Leone promised to bring justice to the people killed in the disaster. A few months after he lost the premiership, he became the head of SADE's team of lawyers, who significantly reduced the amount of compensation for the survivors and ruled out payment for at least 600 victims.
Apart from journalistic attacks and the attempted cover-up from news sources aligned with the government, there had been proven flaws in the geological assessments, and disregard of warnings about the likelihood of a disaster by SADE, ENEL and the government.
The trial was moved to L'Aquila, in Abruzzo, by the judges who heard the preliminary trial, thus preventing public participation, and resulted in lenient sentencing for a handful of the SADE and ENEL engineers. One SADE engineer (Mario Pancini) committed suicide in 1968. The government never sued SADE for damage compensation.
Subsequent engineering analysis has focused on the cause of the landslide, and there is ongoing debate about the contribution of rainfall, dam level changes and earthquakes as triggers of the landslide, as well as differing views about whether it was an old landslide that slipped further or a completely new one.
There were a number of problems with the choice of site for the dam and reservoir: the canyon was steep sided, the river had undercut its banks, and the limestone and clay-stone rocks that made up the walls of the canyon were inter-bedded with the slippery clay-like Lias and Dogger Jurassic-period horizons and the Cretaceous-period Malm horizon, all of which were inclined towards the axis of the canyon. In addition, the limestone layers contained many solution caverns that became only more saturated because of rains in September.
Prior to the landslide that caused the overtopping flood, the creep of the regolith had been 1.01 centimetres (0.40 in) per week. In September, this creep reached 25.4 centimetres (10.0 in) per day until finally, the day before the landslide, the creep was measured at 1 metre (3.3 ft).
Most of the survivors were moved into a newly built village, Vajont, 50 km (31 mi) south-east on the Tagliamento river plain. Those who insisted on returning to their mountain life in Erto e Casso were strongly discouraged. Longarone and other villages in the Piave valley were rebuilt with modern houses and farms.
The government used the disaster to promote the industrialization of the North-East of Italy. Survivors were entitled to 'business start-up' loans, public subsidies and ten years tax exemption, all of which they could 'sell-on' to major companies from the Venice region. These concessions were then converted into millions of lira for plants elsewhere. Among the corporations were Zanussi (now owned by Electrolux), Ceramica Dolomite (now owned by American Standard), Confezioni SanRemo, and SAVIC (now owned by Italcementi).
Compensation measures did not clearly differentiate between victims and people who lived nearby; thus much of the compensation went to people who had suffered little damage, creating a negative public image.
A pumping station was installed in the dam basin to keep the lake at a constant level, and the bypass gallery was lengthened beyond the dam to let the water flow down to the Piave valley. The dam wall is still in place and maintained, but there are no plans to exploit it. The dry basin, filled with landslip, has been open to visitors since 2002.
In recent years there has been a revival of interest both by researchers with specialist interest, and sightseers. The dam, now owned by ENEL, was partially opened to the public in 2002 with guided tours and access to the walkway along the top and other locations. In September 2006 an annual non-competitive track event, called "Paths of Remembrance", was inaugurated, which allows participants to access some locations inside the mountain.
On 12 February 2008, while launching the International Year of Planet Earth, UNESCO cited the Vajont Dam tragedy as one of five "cautionary tales", caused by "the failure of engineers and geologists".
For 2013, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the disaster, the region of Venice set aside one million Euros for safety works and recovery of tunnels inside the mountain which were part of the "Colomber road" (the old national road 251).
The memorial church in Longarone — although its construction was strongly opposed by the surviving parish priest — is a late masterpiece of the famous architect Giovanni Michelucci.
After the initial worldwide reporting, the tragedy became regarded as part of the price of economic growth in the 1950s and 1960s.
Interest was rejuvenated by a 1997 television program by Marco Paolini and Gabriele Vacis, "Il racconto del Vajont".
In 2001, a docudrama about the disaster was released. A joint production of Italian and French companies, it was titled Vajont—La diga del disonore ("Vajont—The Dam of Dishonour") in Italy, and La Folie des hommes ("The Madness of Men") in France. It stars Michel Serrault and Daniel Auteuil.
This is a list of Italian television related events from 1963.Aldo Moro
Aldo Romeo Luigi Moro (Italian: [ˈaldo ˈmɔːro]; 23 September 1916 – 9 May 1978) was an Italian statesman and a prominent member of the Christian Democracy party. He served as 38th Prime Minister of Italy, from 1963 to 1968, and then from 1974 to 1976. He was one of Italy's longest-serving post-war Prime Ministers, holding power for a combined total of more than six years. Due to his accommodation with the Communist leader Enrico Berlinguer, known as the Historic Compromise, Moro is widely considered one of the most prominent fathers of the Italian centre-left and one of the greatest and most popular leaders in the history of the Italian Republic. Moro was considered an intellectual and a patient mediator, especially in the internal life of his party. He was kidnapped on 16 March 1978 by the Red Brigades and killed after 55 days of captivity.Castellavazzo
Castellavazzo is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Belluno in the Italian region of Veneto, located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Venice and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) northeast of Belluno. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 1,735 and an area of 18.8 square kilometres (7.3 sq mi).Dam failure
A dam failure or dam burst is a catastrophic type of failure characterized by the sudden, rapid, and uncontrolled release of impounded water or the likelihood of such an uncontrolled release.A dam is a barrier across flowing water that obstructs,that directs or slows down the flow, often creating a reservoir, lake or impoundments. Most dams have a section called a spillway or weir over or through which water flows, either intermittently or continuously, and some have hydroelectric power generation systems installed.
Dams are considered "installations containing dangerous forces" under International humanitarian law due to the massive impact of a possible destruction on the civilian population and the environment. Dam failures are comparatively rare, but can cause immense damage and loss of life when they occur. In 1975 the failure of the Banqiao Reservoir Dam and other dams in Henan Province, China caused more casualties than any other dam failure in history. The disaster killed an estimated 171,000 people and 11 million people lost their homes.Erto e Casso
Erto e Casso (local Friulian: Nert and Cas) is an Italian municipality in the Province of Pordenone in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located about 130 kilometres (81 mi) northwest of Trieste and about 40 kilometres (25 mi) northwest of Pordenone.Giovanni Michelucci
Giovanni Michelucci, Italian architect, urban planner and designer, was born in Pistoia, Tuscany, on 2 January 1891 and died on the night of 31 December 1990, two days before his 100th birthday, at his studio-home in Fiesole, in Florence's hills, now the headquarters of his Foundation.
He had the good fortune to live a long life almost entirely within the span of the twentieth century, giving us a valuable witness through his work with innovative architectural vernaculars and proposals, from his understanding of the complexity of events, transformations, and ideas that animated the twentieth century.
He was one of the major Italian architects of that century, known for famous projects such as the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station and the San Giovanni Battista church on the Autostrada del Sole.
He came from a family which owned an outstanding workshop for artistic iron craftsmanship and his youthful formative years were spent immersed in that world, after graduating from the Higher Institute of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence. In 1914 he was licensed as a professor of architectural design; so he could teach at the Institute of Architecture of Florence, and became Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in 1944.
Renato Fondi became involved in book projects, one of the "Famiglia Artistica" and "La Tempra", which bind to the critical Pistoia also in the subsequent experiences in Rome.
During the war Michelucci built his first architectural work, a chapel on the eastern front in Casale Ladra, near Caporetto (today in Slovenia); later he was often forced to face the effects of trauma (the reconstruction of the center of Florence after the Second World War, the church at Longarone after the tragedy of Vajont dam, the plan for the popular Santa Croce district in Florence after the 1966 flood of the Arno).Glavatičevo
Glavatičevo is a small village in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The village lies 30 km southeast of Konjic, within the wide Župa Valley (also Komska Župa and Konjička Župa) (English: Parish = Bosnian: Župa) straddling the Neretva river, in Konjic Municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina.Hydroelectricity in Italy
Italy is the world's 14th largest producer of hydroelectric power, with a total of 50,582 GWh produced in 2010. Electric energy from hydro accounted for about 18% of the national electricity production in 2010.There were a total of 2,729 active plants in 2010, of which 302 had a capacity greater than 10 MW. Hydroelectric plants are especially widespread in the north, where there are many rivers and mountains. Lombardy, Piedmont and Trentino-Alto Adige contributed for almost 60% of the total energy production in 2010.Hydroelectricity played a major role in the development of energy sector in Italy, since until the 1950s almost all the electric energy produced in the country came from this source. In fact, almost all the current capacity was installed in the first half of the twentieth century.Plants in Italy are also used to store excess energy from other sources during off-peak periods.Italian economic miracle
The Italian economic miracle or the Italian economic boom (Italian: il miracolo economico, or boom economico) is the term used by historians, economists and the mass media to designate the prolonged period of strong economic growth in Italy after the Second World War from the 1950s to the late 1960s, and in particular the years from 1950 to 1963. This phase of Italian history represented not only a cornerstone in the economic and social development of the country—which was transformed from a poor, mainly rural, nation into a global industrial power—but also a period of momentous change in Italian society and culture. As summed up by one historian, by the end of the 1970s, "social security coverage had been made comprehensive and relatively generous. The material standard of living had vastly improved for the great majority of the population."Jablaničko lake
Jablaničko lake (Bosnian: Jablaničko jezero) is a large artificially formed lake on the Neretva river, right below Konjic where the Neretva briefly expands into a wide valley. River provided lot of fertile, agricultural land there, before lake flooded most of it. The lake was created in 1953 after construction of Jablanica Dam near Jablanica in central Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The lake has an irregular elongated shape. Its width varies along its length. The lake is a popular vacation destination in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Swimming, boating and especially fishing are popular activities on the lake. Many weekend cottages have been built along the shores of the lake.
There are 13 types of fish in the lake's ecosystem.
However, the lake suffered from poor management of water and fisheries. Without any scientific and management plans or research, local fisheries and angling management introduced, alien, non-indigenous or non-native species, either deliberately or accidentally, which did more harm and damage than good. As the Neretva has many endemic and fragile species of fish that are near extinction, introductions of this invasive species, Pike Perch (Stizostedion lucioperca L.), completely destroyed native endemic and highly endangered fish like Strugač (Leuciscus svallize svallize Heck. et Kn.) or (Squalius svallize) and Glavatica (Salmo marmoratus) (also known as Gonjavac).Johnstown Flood National Memorial
Johnstown Flood National Memorial commemorates the more than 2,200 people who died in the Johnstown Flood on May 31, 1889, caused by a break in the South Fork Dam, an earthen structure. The memorial is located at 733 Lake Road near South Fork, Pennsylvania, about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Johnstown. The memorial preserves the remains of the dam and portions of the former Lake Conemaugh bed, along with the farm of Elias Unger and the clubhouse of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club which owned the dam and reservoir. The United States Congress authorized the national memorial on August 31, 1964.Lago di Pontesei
Lago di Pontesei is a lake in the Province of Belluno, Veneto, Italy.
The dam originally formed a much larger area, which reached the confluence with the Maresón torrent in the Pónt of Péez.
Preceded by numerous warning signs, including the formation of cracks along the roadway bordering the reservoir, on the morning of March 22 1959 a landslide, with an estimated volume of about 3 million cubic meters, it broke away from the slopes of Mount Castellin and Spiz, on the left bank of the lake, on a front of 500 meters and fell in 2-3 minutes, partially filling the lake. Although the basin was 13 meters below the full load level the landslide caused a wave that overcame the dam and overwhelmed Arcangelo Tiziani, a worker of a construction company, who was carrying out the construction of the power plant downstream of the dam, whose body was never found. The accident is considered an anticipation of the Vajont dam disaster due to the analogy of its unfolding, and, while the Vajont Dam was built in the neighbor Longarone, it was seen with great concern.
The analyzes of the experts indicated that the collapsed material originally constituted a debris blanket, in some places even 20 meters thickList of tallest structures in Italy
This is a list of the tallest structures in Italy. This list contains all types of structures.Longarone
Longarone is a town and comune on the banks of the Piave in the province of Belluno, in northeast Italy. It is situated 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Belluno.
4,642 people work altogether in Longarone, which is 112.62% of the total population, with most actual inhabitants working within the village.Megatsunami
A megatsunami is a very large wave created by a large, sudden displacement of material into a body of water.
Megatsunamis have quite different features from other, more usual types of tsunamis. Most tsunamis are caused by underwater tectonic activity (movement of the earth's plates) and therefore occur along plate boundaries and as a result of earthquake and rise or fall in the sea floor, causing water to be displaced. Ordinary tsunamis have shallow waves out at sea, and the water piles up to a wave height of up to about 10 metres (33 feet) as the sea floor becomes shallow near land. By contrast, megatsunamis occur when a very large amount of material suddenly falls into water or anywhere near water (such as via a meteor impact), or are caused by volcanic activity. They can have extremely high initial wave heights of hundreds and possibly thousands of metres, far beyond any ordinary tsunami, as the water is "splashed" upwards and outwards by the impact or displacement. As a result, two heights are sometimes quoted for megatsunamis – the height of the wave itself (in water), and the height to which it surges when it reaches land, which depending upon the locale, can be several times larger.
Modern megatsunamis include the one associated with the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa (volcanic eruption), the 1958 Lituya Bay megatsunami (landslide into a bay), and the wave resulting from the Vajont Dam landslide (caused by human activity destabilizing sides of valley). Prehistoric examples include the Storegga Slide (landslide), and the Chicxulub, Chesapeake Bay and Eltanin meteor impacts.Monte Toc
Monte Toc, nicknamed the walking mountain by locals due to its tendency to landslide, is a mountain on the border between Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Northern Italy best known for the Vajont Dam, which was built at the mountain's base in 1960.
On October 9, 1963, 260 million cubic metres of rock slid down the side of Mount Toc and plunged into the reservoir created by the Vajont Dam, causing a megatsunami 250 metres high over the dam wall and destroying the town of Longarone and its suburbs. 1,918 people were killed, 1,450 of whom were in Longarone.Teatro di narrazione
Teatro di narrazione (narrative theatre) is a style of theatre, developed in Italy in the later decades of the 20th century, in which there are no actors or action, but only a "narrattore" (a neologism for narrator-actor, or "narractor") who tells the story in narrative form.Vajont
Vajont (Western Friulian: Vaiònt) is the name of a valley in the area of Longarone, in the province of Pordenone, north-eastern Italy.Vajont (film)
Vajont (Italian: Vajont - La diga del disonore) is a 2001 Italian disaster-drama film directed by Renzo Martinelli. It is a dramatization of the Vajont Dam. For his performance Leo Gullotta won a Nastro d'Argento for Best Supporting Actor.