Saturday, 6 October 2012

Floods in deserts


That’s me in the Lower Antelope Canyon near Page in the deserts of Arizona, USA,  which I visited last month.  It’s place of bizarre, fascinating rock formations, but also a reminder that disastrous floods can strike almost anywhere, even in deserts.

On August 12, 1997, 11 tourists, including 7 from France, were walking through the long narrow, ‘slot’ canyon.   There had been little rain close to the site, but a thunderstorm had dumped a lot of water into the canyon basin seven miles upstream.

By the time it swept into the slot canyon, this flash flood was swelled by logs and stones.    The tourists’  guide managed to wedge himself behind an outcrop, and for a time he held on to two of his party, but eventually the careering waters dragged them from his grasp.

Then he too was swept downstream.   He was found alive on a ledge – the only survivor.   Two of the victims’ bodies have never been found.     You can find more detail here - http://climb-utah.com/Powell/flash_antelope.htm

Picture by Anne Clements http://www.anneclements.com/

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