On this Day, 57 years ago, on 9 October 1963, the Vajont Dam disaster in northern Italy killed some 2000 people.
It was part natural disaster and part man-made. The hydroelectric dam as such was an engineering marvel (at 262 metres the highest in the world at the time, and still in the top ten), BUT: the mountainside to the south of the reservoir that formed in front of the dam when it was completed turned out to be unstable. This geological fragility had been recognized and warnings were voiced – but the relevant government officials preferred to ignore all this.
And so the