Villagers in the Alps must not fear tsunamis like the inhabitants of the east coast of Japan. But they must confront snow avalanches which may be highly destructive to home and life as well.
Unlike tsunamis in Japan, avalanches in the Alps recur with great regularity every year. Indeed, some avalanches fall with seemingly clockwork-like precision. Hamlets huddled on the slopes of deep, narrow valleys between towering mountains are particularly at risk. Over the centuries, the villagers maintained logs in which they meticulously recorded the time and date a particular avalanche descended, the precise area affected, the depth of the snow and its composition.
Topographic map of the surroundings of the village of Obergoms, Vs, Switzerland, showing the extent of avalanches (hatched) recorded in February, 1951, plus the paths of avalanches (arrows) noted between 1700 and 1999 (courtesy http://www.obergommer.ch).
|Report of Japanese Government to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, Fig. III-1-17.|
|The marker's warning (photo by Dr. Masayuki Oishi).|
Perhaps, one day monuments similar to that on the road near Miyako will be erected in Fukushima at a safe distance from the ruins of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station, reminding future generations on their quest for ever more energy not to proceed beyond this point, because the price exacted is too high.