The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Friday, 25 January 2019 01:00

Avalanches in Greece

Avalanches in Greece Avalanches in Greece.

Despite Greece is known as the land of sun and sea, the hazard of avalanches should not be underestimated.

Avalanches are responsible for over 150 fatalities worldwide annually. The least harmful are caused by dry snow that slides as a solid mass while disastrous avalanches occur when large slabs of snow detach from the mountainside and move rapidly downhill. They are usually triggered by snowfall as the weight of the fresh snow overloads the surface beneath until a weak layer fails.

Many systems to characterize the magnitude of an avalanche have been introduced. US classification suggests 5 categories as:

  1. Sluff: any slide running less than 50-meter slope distance regardless of other dimensions
  2. Small
  3. Medium
  4. Large
  5. Major or Maximum

 These categories are relative to the pathway size, that is dependent on the slope's steepness and the volume of the snow.

40 mountaintops of Greece are above 2000 meters and experience about 4-month snowing periods. This fact makes the region an ideal destination for winter activities like ski mountaineering but it also creates potential avalanche risk.

On February 20, 2017, a team of skiers witnessed a class-2 avalanche on Kissavos mountain. 2 of them came very close to the avalanche and they were lucky to be unharmed. The skiers, despite exposing themselves for not taking the right precautions, published the impressive video (click the link below to watch) in order to raise awareness of the damage that avalanches can cause.

Later in 2017, an avalanche in the village of Vasilitsa killed a 33-year-old man. The victim along with his friends entered an area that was closed due to the fall of fresh snow when the avalanche struck. All the members of the group were covered by snow. Rescue teams managed to save and bring them to the hospital where the unfortunate man lost his life.


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Read 205 times Last modified on Friday, 25 January 2019 16:08

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