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List of phenomena related to external geodynamics

Catalonia has been, is and will be affected by geological hazards. The region is especially susceptible to geological threats which imply that geological phenomena affect, more or less frequently, areas of Catalonia and could have a significant social and economic impact. Within the scope of the ICGC, our work focuses on phenomena related to external geodynamics, such as those regarding external atmospheric agents and those associated to the dynamics of slopes, torrential flows, snow, rivers and the coast.

To discover where these phenomena occur and how, the ICGC has made an inventory of avalanches, falls, slides, collapses and torrential flows, so as to have available the most complete knowledge both in time and space of these geological hazards and thus discover and better characterise their threat and minimise the risk.

The list of events aims to cover the entire region of Catalonia, since the first records to current day. Currently, the inventory covers the last 650 years. Therefore, information from the 14th century is available; when the first recorded phenomenon occurred which ICGC has information on. However, the majority of events listed correspond to those occurring as of the second half of the 19th century and particularly, as of 1950, as is shown on the following graph.

A catalogue has been created from the information consulted, which although not complete with regard to time or space, does allow an analysis of the overall view of the impact of geological risks in Catalonia to be obtained.
 Sources consulted are from various areas:

  • ICGC documentary source
  • Newspaper libraries
  • Digital press
  • Websites
  • Projects from 2009 and 2010 which searched for information on geological risks in historical document sources (ICGC)
  • The Ministry of Culture’s Virtual Library of Historical Press
  • Publications (books, articles…)

The inventory is provisional and is continually growing. Currently a project for screening information in historic archives is being carried out which will provide new data, at the same time as the possibility of new sources of information appearing, such as books or newspapers. In addition, events that occur will be added to the inventory.

As an example of the information included on the inventory, here is a table with the most significant events recorded with total destruction of buildings and/or transport and communication infrastructures

Taula d'esdeveniments registrats amb destrucció total d'edificis i/o infraestructures de transport i comunicació

Taula d'esdeveniments registrats amb destrucció total d'edificis i/o infraestructures de transport i comunicació

Inventory analysis

Suffice to say that the quality of the analysis is dependent on the completeness of the inventory. As previously mentioned, the information is not exhaustive in either time or space. It should be considered a state of the art on the date of publication. Therefore, the ICGC’s objective is to continually add to it with both past and current information.

Wherever possible, data as to when the phenomenon occurred, the name of the place and area where it happened, the type of phenomenon, a brief description of the damage caused and if victims were injured or killed, has been gathered regarding each event.

The analysis of all of this information allows conclusions to be drawn as to how geological hazards affect Catalonia. Following is an example of some of the results of the analysis.

It is possible to discover in which regions a recorded phenomenon has caused damage to buildings and/or infrastructures, their typology and size with regard to the total number of events recorded in the region, and for this information to be plotted graphically

We can also represent the regions where deaths have occurred, and the phenomena related to external geodynamics that caused them.


Analysis of the inventory also allows the discovery of when deaths occurred and due to which phenomenon.