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The mass movement of Davenna

by Theresa König last modified 2008-02-19 15:13

The mass movement of Davenna

The slopes west of the Davenna peak towards Lorüns are wooded, whereas the slopes going to St. Anton show hardly any vegetation at all.  They do show fresh rock cuttings though. One such fresh cutting is well exposed in the upper part of the mountain.

The lower parts of the Davenna-mountain are made up of gypsum from the Raibl Formation. As gypsum is soluble, many caves were formed in the gypsum body. Moreover, gypsum is a weak rock and not really resistant to the forces of erosion or gravity. As you can imagine it is not a really good or stable material for foundations and reacts like Swiss cheese when a boulder weighs it down. Since gypsum is the basement of the overlying dolomite body of the Davenna peak region, settling of overlying layers occurs. Similar phenomena can also be observed at the opposite side of the Montafon valley.  The heavy rainfalls in the early summer of 1999 increased the movements at the Davenna. Luckily, large dams and basins had been built earlier to protect the village of St. Anton if this type of situation occurred.

This scientific interpretation of the natural phenomena of the mass movement at Davenna is well founded. The following legend is another interpretation: A long time ago, where the village of St. Anton now lies, there was a marvellous town called Prazalanz. The citizens of the town all lived pleasant lives but they sinned persistently. The only upright person in Prazalanz was the parish priest, but his. warnings were scorned by the citizens.

One day heavy black clouds appeared over the crest of Davenna followed by thunder and lightning. The priest’s little dog howled and tore at his trousers until the priest reluctantly followed the dog out of the town.  As soon as he had passed the town gate, the whole mountain crashed down with a loud roar and heavy dust clouds. When the dust finally cleared, the town of Prazalanz had disappeared. The rock fall buried the whole town along with all of its depraved citizens.


P04-2 The mass movement of Davenna.mp3

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