Tsunami in spain?

Warnings of a disaster at the Itoiz dam

Once again a huge earthquake has shaken Indonesia. The flood wave that was feared again did not occur this time. The authorities ame, however, that again about 2000 people have died, thousands are homeless. But tsunamis of a different kind could occur in Europe (cf. Losgeschuttelt).

For example, Greenpeace has long pointed out the insecurity of dams in Spain. Respected dam builders and geologists warn against the Itoiz dam in particular. The danger here has become more acute since earthquakes began to occur in the province of Navarre. They were induced by the filling of the lake, because the weight presses on folds of earth in the subsoil. Since last September, there have been more than 220 earth tremors in the region.

Tsunami in spain?

The dam of Itoiz is the most controversial dam in the Spanish state. For many years, the destruction of several villages and the impact on the environment of the sensitive region in the Pyrenees of northern Spain were fought against. The conflict was carried to the International Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The project had been annulled several times by the highest Spanish courts. However, laws were subsequently changed and boundaries of nature reserves moved. So the rulings were eviscerated in order to complete construction without having to redesign it under tougher conditions. The project was also accompanied by corruption scandals, for which leading socialist politicians, such as the former head of government of the province of Navarre, even had to get to know the inner workings of Spanish jails.

For several years now, the question of dam safety has taken center stage. Its wall has a height of 135 meters, the lake should flood 1100 hectares in the valleys of the rivers Irati and Urrobi and store 418 Hm3 of water. For more than a year now, the dam has been filled in, "illegal" as Greenpeace complains.

Historical epicenters in the area around the dam

With the rise of the water level the prere in the underground increases. Since last summer, the residents of the area have been proverbially shooed through. In July 2004, the earth under the dam began to rumble. Since September of last year, more than 220 earthquakes have been recorded in the region, with their epicenters in the lake. They reach a strength of 4.6 degrees on the Richter scale.

In an expert opinion, the geology professor of the University of Zaragoza Antonio Casas had already warned in 1999 that the this region "Has significant seismic activity, usually associated with underground earth faults". Of all things in "Surrounding the Itoiz dam were historic epicenters", that were not taken into account during the construction of the lake.

Earthquake from the weight of the lake "induced"

Telepolis has two new reports. Both Casas and his colleague JoaquIn GarcIa Sansegundo, a professor at the University of Oviedo, now speak of the earthquakes being caused by the weight of the lake "induced" were.

For Casas, it is no coincidence that the "seismic crisis" is accompanied by the filling of the dam and the epicenters of the quakes are located at a depth of about five kilometers below the lake, where the earth folds were located. Sansegundo writes: Because of the geological situation and due to "the prere of the dammed water" had taken place "Earth folds set in motion". It looked like "the seismic activity that has been observed since September 2004". Further tremors could not be ruled out in case of further use, and they could "be of higher intensity than those registered so far". He also points out that this increases the danger for the unstable left side of the slope that the dam is leaning on.

Expert opinion kept under lock and key

It has been known for years that the regional government kept under lock and key expert opinions that pointed to the danger of the left side of the dam slipping away even during the construction phase of the project. It was clear why: because this is exactly what had happened in 1963 in Vajont in northern Italy. 2600 deaths were the result of the man-made disaster. This fact had further called into question the construction and strengthened the already strong opposition to it.

The fact that Geocisa was involved in the construction of the dam, which already broke once in Andalusia and caused a toxic flood in the natural park, did not help to build confidence either. After one of these "Secret report" the way to the Burger Initiative "Coordination for Itoiz" When the government found the islands, renowned experts were commissioned to look into the safety of the dam. In 1999, geologist Casas warned, and a year later his colleague Arturo Rebollo Alonso, a geologist and architect who has built a number of dams. He is considered an expert in professional circles and has been decorated with awards by the professional classes.

Security risks of catastrophic proportions

Tsunami in spain?

Rebollo studied in detail the geological peculiarities of the "Flysch formations" on the slopes and explained:

From the beginning, the geological survey of the areas affected by this reservoir project has been riddled with holes and errors. This refers to the mountain slopes surrounding the valley to be flooded, as well as to the site chosen for the construction of the dams. (…) The risk of a catastrophe, the scenarios of conceivable storm traps related to the reservoir project, were never mentioned in the construction plans and accompanying expert reports, nor were they even remotely examined.

Even before the earthquakes occurred, Rebollo came to the following conclusions:

The reservoir of Itoiz may never be filled and put into operation. There are serious problems and security risks of catastrophic proportions. (…) Against the background of the gross safety risks and their respective causes, I have examined the engineering possibilities to improve the project. I come to the conclusion that there are no technical solutions that could cure the security problems I have mentioned.

Various disasters he predicts:

A landslide from certain mountain slopes into the reservoir causes huge waves to spill over the dam wall". (…) The unstable left basement slope of the main dam gives way. The water prere attacks and breaks between the hillside and the concrete. The reservoir empties completely.

One has with currents of 80.000 to 100.000 m_ per second to calculate. This is up to 750 times the amount that occurs as a flood of the Irati during melt water in spring. Even the riverbed of the Ebros further downstream was swept away. The towns of Aoiz, Lumbier, Tudela, Zaragoza, located on the Irati and Ebro rivers, have been severely affected. The Asco nuclear power plant is also on the way. The citizens of Aoiz had 20 seconds before the tidal wave wiped the small town off the map.

So it is not surprising that the spokesman for the citizens’ initiative Patxi Gorraiz calls for the abandonment of the project. The former former resident of the destroyed village of Itoiz explained:

We call on those responsible to empty the dam immediately, because the filling will expose thousands of people in the communities below the dam to mortal danger.

The geologist Casas, who has already found indications of a landslide on the slope, puts it similarly. Therefore it does not matter whether the earthquakes were induced by the dam or not. In view of the situation "The nuclear power plant Asco is also on its way, and it is unacceptable to expose the population downstream of the dam to a risk by filling it and putting it into operation", he concludes in his last report.

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