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April 21, 2015

R is for Rockfall


My theme for my 2015 A to Z Challenge came from my Disaster Crimes series. Disasters are a theme in each story, so it got me thinking about all the disasters that occur from natural disasters to manmade disasters.

Today’s disaster is...
Rockfall

Rockfall is when rocks fall freely from cliff faces and bounce, roll, slide, or fall down vertical slopes. Weathering, ground and surface water, freeze-thaw, root-wedging, bedrock fractures, erosion, earthquakes, and tectonic stresses can cause rockfall. Sometimes the rocks falling from the cliff will dislodge other rocks, creating a mass wasting process much like an avalanche.

FACT: More than 1,000 rockfalls have occurred in Yosemite Valley in the past 150 years.

And another side to rockfall...

In 2013, two Utah Boy Scout leaders purposely toppled over an ancient rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park. When I heard about this I was shocked, because Boy Scouts are taught to honor nature. These two men found it terribly hilarious, though, and even filmed their “victory” and posted it on Facebook. On top of that, they were leading a group of teenage boys at the time.


The mushroom-shaped sandstone formation, they destroyed was over 170 million years old. Why did they do it? The Boy Scout leaders said they did it because they thought it was loose and feared it was dangerous. Anyone here buy that? When they destroyed the formation, they cheered.

I was going to add the video of it, but it's no longer on Youtube.


QUESTIONS: Have you ever witnessed rockfall? Could you condone these men for destroying the rock formation?


100 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What a terrible example to set for those boys.

Annalisa Crawford said...

It's such a shame that something so old was destroyed like that. Something that's been there for 170 million years is definitely NOT loose!

Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

Jeffrey Scott said...

For me, rockfall was in the 90's. Hated most of that music.
As for the boy scout leaders. They certainly put the BOY in boy scouts. I think they are a 'little loose' in the head. If you get what I mean.

Jennifer Hawes said...

We live among cliffs, hills and caves and always have rockfalls along with mudslides. Hannibal is a great place to visit:-) So sad to hear about the boys destroying the formation. BOYS.

Jo said...

Never experienced a rock fall thank goodness. However, I remember that business with the boy scouts and was horrified at the time at such wanton destruction.

Chrys Fey said...

I agree.

Chrys Fey said...

If it survived that long without falling, it would've survived a lot longer.

Chrys Fey said...

You can say that again! They sure weren't acting like adults.

Chrys Fey said...

Rockfalls and mudslides. Yikes. BOYS! YES!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only one horrified.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys .. yes those 'boys' were made 'to pay' - I can't remember how .. but all hell let loose I think .. people were appalled at such stupidity ..

I haven't seen a rock fall happen, but we get them here and sadly people can be underneath .. it's not a pleasant thought .. cheers Hilary

betty said...

I think the Boy Scouts needed to probably check with someone who knew the rock formations and was an expert on it rather than make an assumption it could be unsafe. I haven't personally seen rock falls but see lots of signs on different roads I've traveled to watch for them, so they must be more common than I think.

betty

Chrys Fey said...

I certainly was appalled. I know they had to go to court for it, but I don't remember hearing what their punishment was.

Being buried by rocks definitely is not a pleasant thought.

Chrys Fey said...

That would've been the right thing to do.

Rockfall is probably very common along any kind of mountain or cliff.

Shell Flower said...

We have a pretty road here called Chuckanut drive that has rockfall issues a lot. You never know when there will be random rocks (often quite large) in the road, especially in winter.

Tamara Narayan said...

If that rock formation was hanging over a footpath, then yeah, they might have a reason to push it over. But it sounds like vandalism--not something you would associate with Boy Scouts.

Cherdo said...

In the early 60s, my Dad's great love was his car - a convertible DeSoto with big fins.

A huge boulder fell on it and crushed it. To tell the truth, I still laugh about that.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I always wonder when I see those signs along the road, and they make me look up. Most of the time it's places where parts of hills have been blown away for the road... go figure.

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

Zannie Rose said...

Have not witnessed a rockfall in action but often see the after effects as I live by the coast and dramatic rockfalls are reported on the tv- along with associated tragedies at times

zannierose A-Z

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

Those men need to be prosecuted for destroying an ancient site - it was clearly just a show of strength. I've never seen a rock fall, but some of the paths we used to walk in Somerset on holiday would suddenly be closed because half of it had disappeared down the cliff edge! The rock fall - one of Hollywood's favourite tropes :)
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Julie Flanders said...

How pathetic that those men are supposed to be leaders. Disgusting.

Unknown said...

Never seen one before. Don't know how to qualify those men.

Teresa Cypher said...

Wow, Chris--I didn't know about the Boy Scout leaders destroying the ancient formation! How shocking--and sad. :-( A safety issue? Nah...I'm not buying that either!

Chrys Fey said...

It would be scary driving down that road because you never know when a rockfall could happen.

Chrys Fey said...

It wasn't hanging over a foot path. It was among a lot of other rocks and boulders. Vandalism is right.

Chrys Fey said...

Oh my goodness! Now that is rockfall. Good thing he wasn't in the car at the time!

Chrys Fey said...

The things we do tend to the environment cause a lot of damage and big a domino effect.

Chrys Fey said...

Tragedies with these rockfalls are so sad.

Crystal Collier said...

Truthfully, having been to Goblin Valley and several places like it, I'm not surprised. There are so many odd rock formations that a single one would seem insignificant.

But have you heard the legend of Falling Rocks? If not, it's worth looking up. (A Native American folk story.)

Chrys Fey said...

It sure was. I know they had to go to court for it. I'm not sure what their punishment was, though. Probably a big fine and a lot of hours of community service.

Chrys Fey said...

You can say that again.

Chrys Fey said...

I haven't seen one either. It would be something to witness...from a distance and as long as no houses or people are in the way.

Chrys Fey said...

I didn't think I would be the only one who doubted their word. Thanks for stopping by, Teresa!

Unknown said...

Wow, craziness!!

Chrys Fey said...

Maybe, but the fact they did it in front of kids and video taped it as if it was an accomplishment is appalling. To me, it's like destroying well-known rock formations around the word. Maybe not on the same scale. Some could say it's just rocks, but it was an ancient artifact. It should have been left alone.

I never heard of the legend of Falling Rocks. Thanks! I'll look it up. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Crazy, indeed.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I was driving down the highway and a boulder slid off a hill into the middle of the road. No one got hurt, but it was scary!

Stephanie Bird said...

I was very saddened and appalled when I heard of the travesty the Boy Scout leaders had committed. The only solace is that sometimes as in 'rock fall' these things happen on their own. But still...

Michael Di Gesu said...

Aweful... I am just as outraged. And filming it?! What idiots....

Rachel Pattinson said...

It makes me sad to think that these men who were supposed to be role models thought it funny to destroy something that's invaluable. I definitely don't buy their 'safety issue' story (because surely, there would've been some other way around it anyway??).

CA Heaven said...

Rockfalls can be quite dangerous, and sometimes rocks must be taken down for safety reasons, but usually not in national parks. We have a couple of pretty scary potential rock falls, entire mountain sides about to fall out in fjords. They will create tsunamies (your T-word?) of 20-30 meter (80-100 feet) waves. Nothing to do about it other than monitor the mountains, and hopefully warn people in due time so that they can escape.

Cold As Heaven

S. L. Hennessy said...

Wow, I'm also surprised to hear those Boy Scout guys did that. Not cool at all.

Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

One of our major roads is being closed this summer as they try to do something about the frequent rockfalls.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

There are a lot of rockfalls at Asheville, and I'm glad I've never been going through there when one took place.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

People are jerks. It's like that guy who was caught defacing the colosseum in Rome. Some people have no respect for anything.

Unfortunately, in this case, those guys taught a whole bunch of boys to follow their example.

Carrie-Anne said...

As if I needed any further reasons to dislike the Boy Scouts! BSA of prior generations sounds like a good group, but I really don't like what the organization has become in the modern era, for reasons too off-topic and long to get into here. They definitely deserve more than a slap on the wrist for that.

sage said...

I am not one for violence, but I was ready to lynch those guys who toppled the rocks in Goblin Valley--a very unique place (I think I've blogged about it). As for Rock Slides, I've witnessed a few. Once, when on a solo overnighter in Zion National Park, I heard what sounded like a high powered rifle shot just over my right shoulder and turned to see a part of the cliff give away and the dust fill the canyon... I was a safe distance away, but realized how vulnerable we often are in life.

Pat Hatt said...

Those boy scouts were idiots. Never wan to be crushed by a rock though

Chrys Fey said...

That would be scary.

Chrys Fey said...

So was I, Stephanie.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one outraged about this.

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly! It's not like it was on a path. They had to climb to get to it.

Chrys Fey said...

Near homes, I can see city workers and other authority figures working together to remove rocks and boulders from causing damage and injury, but this was just dumb.

I did not know they could create tsunamis. That is crazy!

Chrys Fey said...

Nope, not cool.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope they can figure out something to fix the problem.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you haven't, too.

Chrys Fey said...

I was nodding my head the whole time while reading your comment, J.H.

Chrys Fey said...

It has become farther corrupt, hasn't it? My brother was a Boy Scout back in the day.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you! I really wanted to punch them and I'm not one for violence either.

That's a nice lesson you learned when you saw that cliff fall.

Chrys Fey said...

They were idiots. I wouldn't want to be crushed by rocks or a boulder either. Ouch!

nashvillecats2 said...

This was absolutely terrible, so sad to read.

Yvonne.

Sophie Duncan said...

I haven't ever seen a rockfall live, but I remember there was a bad rockfall, in fact the entire face of a cliff came down on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset (UK), and someone was killed.

It's awful what those scouts did, millions of years gone in minutes - ignorant idiots.

Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Liz A. said...

Why do boys like to destroy things? (I don't care how old they were. If they cheered the destruction, they were boys.) Yikes.

Sunni said...

People always destroy nature. I think it's terrible because we can never get those things back. Right now, they're building a new subdivision near my house ( just what we need - more houses) and in the process they are destroying an old lava flow that is thousands of years old. It makes me sick every time I drive by there on my way to town. Humans just have no regard for nature.

Sunni
http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

Birgit said...

yeah-I have a way to condone those 2-kicking them in the ass! They knew what they were doing and should no longer be in the boyscouts and charge them!! As for rockfalls-you should Youtube Buster Keaton who started a rock fall and ran in between the rocks for comedic effect. It is funny but never thought of the tremendous danger he was in

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I think they were a terrible example for the boys they're supposed to be teaching to be good citizens and men. I hope they were punished.

diedre Knight said...

Shame on the destroyers! If they were so worried about it, they should have stayed away from it.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for stopping by, Yvonne!

Chrys Fey said...

That's terrible!

I didn't know there was a Jurassic Coast in the UK. Are there dinosaurs? ;P

Ignorant idiots is right.

Chrys Fey said...

I love you comment, Liz. They certainly were acting like little boys.

Chrys Fey said...

It is terrible. I remember being so sad as a kid seeing trees bulldozed to build houses, plazas, and schools.

That old lava flow would be amazing to see and it's horrible that's it's being destroyed. I love nature and respect it with all my being. It hurts when I see that others don't.

Chrys Fey said...

Here, here, Birgit!

I'll have to look for that video. What is it with men and rocks? Haha.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope there were, too!

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly! What they did was not logical.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

We've passed a couple of those "Beware of Falling Rocks Signs" on some pretty narrow winding roads. It always seems to me if the rocks start falling, there's nowhere to "beware" to. Sorry to hear what happened in Goblin Park. We were there in 2011. It never occurred to us to "fix" anything.

Scribbles From Jenn - Visiting from the A to Z Challenge

Chrys Fey said...

Those guys were just idiots. Fixing was their lame excuse.

I sure wouldn't want to be on a narrow winding road during rockfall. Like you said, where would go?

Cynthia said...

Those troop leaders were setting a poor example for the kids they were "leading."

Chrys Fey said...

They sure were.

Nick Wilford said...

Sounds terrifying, not to mention deadly, to be caught in a rockfall.

If those men thought it was dangerous, they should have gone through some official channels to have it stabilised in some way without destroying it.

J E Oneil said...

I saw a story about what those jerks did. They thought it would be cool to shove it over and then they came up with a story to cover their butts when they got in trouble. Rockfalls can be dangerous, but this wasn't and they were just stupid.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

I saw that video. There were several copies of it on YouTube, too! I was so heartsick over that, I cried. I showed it to my kids. They were appalled. Especially my teenaged son. He had just completed an expedition there with his school (stayed a week and studied the formations and even did a presentation on Goblin Valley).

Elizabeth Mueller
AtoZ 2015
My Little Pony

Anonymous said...

About 45 minutes south of where I live, by the Mackinaw Bridge, there's some areas that have signs for rocks falling. I've never seen any happen, but it is very steep with lose rocks along it, so caution is advised.

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Lisa Thomson said...

I've never actually seen a rock slide but there was a famous one that happened here in my home Province in late 1960's. It killed abut a dozen people. We stop there on our drives to the interior of the province sometimes to see the monument and crater. It's quite interesting. It's a scary disaster as one never knows when it will strike and take out roads. Not unlike the earthquake. Great photos!

Chrys Fey said...

That would've been the proper thing to do. But I doubt it was dangerous. They probably said that thinking it would save their skin.

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly! I couldn't have said it better.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm sorry that your son had just been there and studied those very same rock formations, one of which was destroyed by these cowardly idiots. I would've been very upset.

Chrys Fey said...

When I visit my dad in Michigan. and see the Mackinaw Bridge, I'll look for that. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's tragic! And it created a crater? That would be something to see...amazing and yet heartbreaking.

Sean @ His And Her Hobbies said...

Thankfully I have never seen a landslide in action but did see the aftermath of one the morning after an earthquake in NZ.

Sean at His and Her Hobbies

Chrys Fey said...

Earthquakes are huge triggers.

Mary Kirkland said...

Those are scary. Can't even imagine.

DMS said...

That is sad that they seemed to destroy part of nature for fun.

Rockfalls are scary. When I see signs with warnings I always get a little nervous- because they are obviously there for a reason! :)
~Jess

Stephanie Faris said...

That always makes me nervous when I'm driving next to those big rock walls on the Interstate!

Suzanne said...

Didn't know about the boy scouts, like it's already been said, why? And what sort of example were they?

My dads family comes from the mountains in Italy, and rock falls are a common occurrence, some of the mountains even have giant wire netting to prevent danger.

Chrys Fey said...

Neither can I.

Chrys Fey said...

I've never seen a warning sign before, but I'd get nervous if I did.

Chrys Fey said...

I've never driven next to a big rock wall.

Chrys Fey said...

Not a very good example.

That wire netting sounds like a good idea. I hope it works!

Unknown said...

Now that is an awful thing to do. Things that could possibly endanger peoples lives should never be left unpunished. Thanks for sharing !

Chrys Fey said...

It was awful. They sure got a lot of backlash for doing it.