The Vajont Dam, Italy: Just Before the Landslide

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Location: 48o 16' 02" N, 012o 19' 45" E.

Despite warnings the the mountainside south of the dam (right in this view) was unstable, construction of the Vajont Dam began in 1957 and was completed in 1959. Filling of the reservoir began in 1960 and was interrupted several times when there were indications that the mountainside was beginning to slide. The owners of the dam even planned for the likelihood that the mountainside would eventually slide into the reservoir and cut it in half. They built a diversion tunnel to allow water to flow around the probable location of the slide. But they believed that any slide would offer enough warning to allow the water level in the reservoir to be lowered.

By 1963, the reservoir was full. The Vajont Dam was 262 meters (860 feet) high, the highest dam in Europe.

Possible Coloring

Return to Geology Coloring Book Index
Return to Professor Dutch's Home Page

Created 8 October 2009, Last Update 15 January 2020