Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Like a rolling stone...
August 31, 2013 10:05 AM   Subscribe

The proliferation of dashcam videos have given us some amazing material, here's another one to add to the pile
posted by ambivalentic (75 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
::backs away slowly::
posted by jamaro at 10:11 AM on August 31, 2013 [24 favorites]


The people in the white car are so fortunate. In a blink, they got pushed to safety by earth and water.
posted by maggieb at 10:13 AM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're finally mine Dr. Jones!
posted by codacorolla at 10:14 AM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I understand the reasoning for dash cams in Russia but was not aware that there was a need for dash-cams in Taiwan. Also, the guy driving the car that lived, well it is time to buy a lottery ticket, because he is on a roll.
posted by jadepearl at 10:14 AM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unless the rest of the hillside buried them in Part II. /sitting here in a rain storm wondering if my basement is going to flood again.
posted by maggieb at 10:15 AM on August 31, 2013


Hard to disagree with the driver's use of hazard lights before exiting the vehicle.
posted by Catchfire at 10:15 AM on August 31, 2013 [22 favorites]


The mud on the road might well provide some welcome camouflage for the potential physical reaction of a driver stepping out of their car in such a scenario.
posted by fairmettle at 10:20 AM on August 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's 4:20 somewhere
posted by perhapsolutely at 10:24 AM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


God is a lousy bowler. Can't make the spare.
posted by markkraft at 10:27 AM on August 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I like how the person in the recording car backs away, waits and thinks for a moment and then decides to back away just a little bit more.

that is a fucking big rock
posted by elizardbits at 10:28 AM on August 31, 2013 [23 favorites]


that is a fucking big rock

I know! I read the words "giant boulder" but was totally unprepared for what they actually denote.
posted by Catchfire at 10:32 AM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


well it is time to buy a lottery ticket, because he is on a roll

You totally rocked that pun.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:37 AM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


God is a lousy bowler. Can't make the spare.

Jesus saves.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:41 AM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


That rock had perfect dramatic timing. First there's the big rush of the initial landslide, and that's startling, but you can see the car is fine. And then the enormous boulder appears, and then it tilts up, just aaaaaaaabout to crush the car, just enough time for you to really grasp just exactly how many tons that must weigh.... before it plunks back down.
posted by tavella at 10:44 AM on August 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


Also, someone in the comments caught this: if you look at the first seconds of the video, you can actually see the spire of stone on the ridge collapsing and the rock starting its fall. Just a little to the left of the building.
posted by tavella at 10:48 AM on August 31, 2013 [37 favorites]


CNN: Dashcam video of giant thwomp is a big breakthrough, expert says

The first ever video footage of a giant thwomp is "an enormous breakthrough," according to a prominent videogame biologist who wrote a book about the quest to find the mysterious creatures.

"People have been searching for them for dozens of years, literally," said Biff Bifferson, the author of Ka-Thud! The Biology and Mythology of the Elusive Giant Thwomp.

Several YouTube videos uploaded this week from Taiwan show the 60-ton giant thwomp emerging from its roadside hiding place, precipitated by a burst of vegetation and mud. The discovery is significant for both science and mythology, in which giant thwomps have long played a notable role, Bifferson said in an interview on CNN.

"We're going to learn how this thing hovers," he said. "What makes it fall, why it's always scowling like that. Why they used to be blue, but are usually grey now."

The Discovery Channel plans to air a program about the thwomp sighting later this month.
posted by oulipian at 10:51 AM on August 31, 2013 [17 favorites]


Car narrowly survives being crushed by a giant boulder in Taiwan.

I miss copy editors.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:58 AM on August 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


PUT BACK THE IDOL!
posted by stltony at 11:04 AM on August 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


So this happened like 10 hours ago?
In Taiwan?

Crazy.
posted by fullerine at 11:06 AM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


While this was amazing to watch, and I'm glad everyone's OK, I find it disturbing that there's a website where I can be involved in as many horrible car wrecks as I care to indulge in.

Yay Internet!

and OMG an office above a McD's? My office is next to a McD drive-thru and that's bad enough. Smelling french fries all day? I'm lovin' it.
posted by wallabear at 11:13 AM on August 31, 2013


Well, monkey's just been born. I guess Tripitaka must be in the car behind.
posted by davemee at 11:39 AM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wonder where this was. Tropical storm Kong-Rey has been slamming southern Taiwan with rain over the last 48 hour or so, so I guess it's somewhere there. Man, that boulder is something else, and you really can see it begin to fall earlier in the video - crazy!
posted by gemmy at 11:50 AM on August 31, 2013


I wonder what was wiped out uphill from there; hopefully nobody was in the path of that above the road!
posted by Red Loop at 11:56 AM on August 31, 2013


Gravity is gravity but in my imagination, car crushing land slides always happen in slow-motion.
Nope!
posted by rongorongo at 12:03 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still waiting for the coyote to go up close, sniff the rock, and be crushed a second later by a separate boulder from the other direction.

Meep meep.
posted by spitbull at 12:09 PM on August 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


that is a fucking big rock

Hmmm...I see your point...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 12:10 PM on August 31, 2013


I WANNA ROCK!
posted by hal9k at 12:20 PM on August 31, 2013


God is a lousy bowler. Can't make the spare.

Jesus saves.


Eight-year-olds, dude.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:31 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I imagine the white car's seats will need a serious cleaning.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:38 PM on August 31, 2013


In case anybody is curious, the back of my envelope suggests that the giant fucking boulder weighs right around 100,000 pounds, or a bit more than a loaded tractor trailer.
posted by localroger at 12:41 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or does anyone else see that the chunk of rock that rolls up to the car is just a piece of the boulder that broke off when the whole thing hit the road? It's hard to tell with all the mud and rain on the windshield, but it looks to me like there's a huge chunk of stationary rock on the right side that wasn't there before when the driver starts backing up.

Thanks tavella for pointing out that you can see the rock letting go at the beginning -- amazing!
posted by TwoToneRow at 12:56 PM on August 31, 2013


Dang, localroger...I was thinking even heavier. 10 ft in radius, 150 lb/cubic ft...I'm up at 628,000 lb.

Give or take.
posted by notsnot at 12:57 PM on August 31, 2013


Here's a gif somebody made.
posted by tykky at 12:57 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just for entertainment value, I wish these dashcams had two sensors -- one recording the view through the windshield and the other one pointed at the driver.
posted by TwoToneRow at 1:03 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Commenting on my own post -- in the gif that tykky linked to, you can clearly see the BIG rock planting itself into the road at the very right side just before the camera's timestamp goes from 16:20:02 to 16:20:03. During the splash, the smaller piece that almost hits the white car breaks off from the boulder and rolls to the left.

Also, interesting to note the transformer on the power line blowing up at the 16:20:03 mark.
posted by TwoToneRow at 1:12 PM on August 31, 2013


...was not aware that there was a need for dash-cams in ...

I think it's just a matter of time before insurance mandated cams become commonplace everywhere, and soon afterwards they'll be standard factory options. The biggest hurdle of course will be over proprietary video formats, closed source phone and tablet apps for accessing the footage (only through a fixed web service, using trusted computing hardware that's registered at the dealer, supporting Windows OR Apple OR Android depending on whether it's a Ford or Chevy or GM), uploaded via the fixed wireless service contract provided exclusively through either AT&T or Verizon or Sprint depending on the automaker, Honda will let you download the footage but only onto proprietary Sony memory sticks, and dealing with the public relations fallout when it's revealed that the NSA has backdoor access to everyone's footage...

On second thought, maybe dashcams will never become commonplace in the US.
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:26 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Since we are commenting on a current event, it is worth pointing out that about 500 people have been reported as being killed by a Tiawanese landslide (presumably this one or one like it) to date. Most from the village of Hsiaolin which is here.
posted by rongorongo at 1:29 PM on August 31, 2013


notsnot, I think you have it a bit bigger than it really is. I figured 12 x 10 x 8 feet based on comparison to the compact car it nearly smooshed, and 100 lb/cuft which is a bit more typical for natural minerals found in the Earth's crust.
posted by localroger at 1:32 PM on August 31, 2013


I am not seeing a larger parent rock. Both the slightly larger squarish rock to the right of the impactor's final resting spot and the round background outline, which is a treeline, are there before the crash.
posted by localroger at 1:36 PM on August 31, 2013


More images of the mudslides.
posted by rongorongo at 1:39 PM on August 31, 2013


What did you get, Charlie Brown?

Also, holy CROW.
posted by nevercalm at 2:37 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not that I'm superstitious or anything, but I really kinda just DON'T WANT a dashcam.
posted by sammyo at 3:11 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Street View, featuring that boulder in its original perch. Via.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:45 PM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Since we are commenting on a current event, it is worth pointing out that about 500 people have been reported as being killed by a Tiawanese landslide

rongorongo, the landslide you were talking about that tragically killed so many was in 2009 during hurricane Morakot. I'm monitoring the Taiwan news (part of my job) and I haven't seen any reports of fatal landslides during this rainy season or due to Kong-Rey. A mudslide derailed a train yesterday, but the 17 injured are said to be doing well, most have been released from the hospital.

There are several parts of the rail system that have been shut down, and the reservoirs are filling. But neither the state news (focustaiwan.tw) or any of the other news sources I use have reported any fatalities.

On preview: Thanks for the street view sandettie, I had wanted to know where it was.
posted by gemmy at 3:54 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Driving through the mountains I always notice those signs to "Watch For Falling Rocks" but I'm not exactly sure how I'm supposed to do that.

Fallen rocks, maybe. Falling? I don't think so.
posted by surplus at 4:13 PM on August 31, 2013


The aftermath photos from that Reddit thread are shocking, too. The rock on the left in the 2nd photo must have been the one that crushed the front of the car, which isn't visible from the dashcam footage.

Wow, that first car was lucky as fuck.
posted by mediareport at 4:25 PM on August 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


if you look at the first seconds of the video, you can actually see the spire of stone on the ridge collapsing and the rock starting its fall. Just a little to the left of the building.

Someone posted this framegrab circling the rock in it's original location, for folks like me who weren't sure where to look.
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:34 PM on August 31, 2013


Obviously the handiwork of Wile E Coyote and his ACME Boulder Lever.
posted by klarck at 4:40 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was in a similar situation a bout 18 months ago. I was driving back from picking up pizza on our small street, parked my car, and heard a crash. I wasn't as close to the scene as the white car in this video, but I missed it by about 30 seconds...when I walked down the street to see what had happened, there was a massive boulder on top of a neighbor's car, and it had also crushed their porch. The boulder was bigger than the one in Taiwan, but sadly, we have no footage of the collapse itself!

Here's a news story, however...

The news story says the boulder fell at 7:30 in the morning. It did not...it was around 10PM the night before.
posted by newfers at 4:45 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Please tag this post with the word "boulder" to improve search hits later.
posted by intermod at 4:57 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, I've had two near miss highway speed reflex/steering/brake tests in the past three days driving to work (please go home summah people. you're done) and now my perspective is all re-calibrated.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:12 PM on August 31, 2013


* I feel bad about my second remark after others mentioned the devastation of recent landslides in Taiwan. No, my saturated yard and seeping basement cannot compare. When my area gets too much rain bad things can happen. Many mountain roads that fall away on the downslope or the upper bank gives way. Living on the edge of the Va./Ky./W.Va. coal country the roads are bad even when they manage to hold together. The last time I recall a large boulder falling, it crushed a mobile home and killed a toddler in his bed. It is not uncommon to round a bend on the only reasonable route from Point A to Point B and find a down tree or a small boulder in the middle of the road. Happens more often during wet times. The video of this post sent a charge through me. We almost never see our road hazards happen in real time. Mostly we don't hear about them unless someone is injured. We run into them, go around if possible, call to report so the (tax-supported! yay!) highway crew will come out 24/7 to clean it up and go on our merry way.
posted by maggieb at 5:29 PM on August 31, 2013


if you look at the first seconds of the video, you can actually see the spire of stone on the ridge collapsing and the rock starting its fall. Just a little to the left of the building.

Given the subsequent photos, I guess this is for real, but I was a little bit suspicious if the video might be CG, and then when tavella pointed out that the camera just happened to get a glimpse of the initial collapse at the top of the mountain, I thought, "OK. Fake for sure."
posted by straight at 9:46 PM on August 31, 2013


Could just be a McDonald's commercial...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 10:25 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


See, the trick to Choco Mountain is to stick to the outside of the curve. It's actually the easiest track in the Flower Cup.
posted by sourwookie at 12:03 AM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I created a Google Map for this rockfall — it's in Hattoshi, Taiwan on the north coast. There's links in screenshots and images†, as well as markings indicating the positions of the rock spire, the canyon the rockfall follows, the point on the road where it emerges and the boulder comes to rest, and the waterfall that's visible in the video.

The spire rock formation is substantial and is visible in the satellite images as well as in Google Street View. The boulder is but a small portion of what fell.

On the satellite maps, both Google's and the other one I found, there's some structures visible that are just up the small canyon from the road — from the satellite view where the topography is more apparent, it looks like the canyon is just to the east of those structure and so they may have survived, assuming that the rockfall followed that small canyon as I believe. I've shaded the three canyons on the Google map: the one just to the west which the rock formation might have fallen into, but I don't think it did; the one it probably did fall into which goes straight NNE from the formation to the road; and the canyon a bit more to the east, which is where the stream and waterfall visible in the video flow.

I've included video stills of the rock formation just as it begins to collapse, and just after it collapses, with both images included a circle highlight to mark the location. Also, there's a video still just as the rockslide emerges onto the road, and a video still of the boulder just before it comes completely to rest.

Here's the two aftermath photos, one from the view opposite the video and showing the true damage to the white car.

† Click on one of the map features, either on the map or on the list on the left, and a box will open which will include a description and an image. The descriptions include a link to the full image, both from the text and the small included image.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:05 AM on September 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


Fallen rocks, maybe. Falling? I don't think so.

I dunno, it's been a while (1970s), but it was during either our Yellowstone trip or our Rocky Mountain NP trip that we had to skirt around a small landslide that had partially blocked a road (a bulldozer had created a sort of extended shoulder as a detour to make the route passable). I can't recall if there was just a sign or a flag crew basically telling us that we were to approach the slide area, assess the amount of small rocks that might be coming, and if we chose to make the passage, to do it as fast as possible, and don't drive off the edge of the shoulder please. It was some situation where the only other way was just miles and miles.

I've also been on a trail at Devils Lake State Park in Wisconsin along the bottom edge of a whole hillside of basically a 45° natural slope of scree, which frequently chooses to explore further down at velocity. It's important to be aware of this to avoid injury. The name is, but of course, Tumbled Rocks Trail.

This 2009 landslide in Tennessee shows you how big landslides are often preceded by small debris (and small rocks can smash your windshield regardless).
posted by dhartung at 1:15 AM on September 1, 2013


Excellent work, Ivan Fyodorovich.

I imagine it won't be long before someone makes an animated reconstruction of the entire incident, like what was done for the Chelyabinsk meteor.
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:10 AM on September 1, 2013


If people are in any doubt as to what a landslide can do, I urge them to visit the site of the Frank Slide in eastern British Columbia. In April 1903, over the course of under two minutes, nearly 100 million tons of limestone rearranged itself from the north face of Turtle Mountain to the valley below, burying a coal mine, a railroad, half of the town, and several dozen luckless residents. Driving through it now, it is startling to suddenly find yourself in several square kilometers of lunar landscape nestled into a pleasant BC valley.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:58 AM on September 1, 2013


And if you ever visit Yostemite National Park, there's a good chance you'll take the detour around the Ferguson Rockslide.
posted by localroger at 7:51 AM on September 1, 2013


newfers, I remember that happening when I lived in Athens. A better article actually comes courtesy of The Athens Messenger.
posted by mistersquid at 10:14 AM on September 1, 2013


Can anyone comment on how you'd go about actually moving that thing out of the way? I did a quick google for hydraulic truck cranes, and it seems that 100 to 150 tons capacity is fairly common, with some beasts capable of lifting up to 600 tons. So I'm guessing that the sheer weight is not an issue. But how do you actually rig the thing? It seems to be particularly square in shape, and I don't see how you'd get cables around it to be able to lift it stably. I suppose you could drill or hammer eyelets into it?
posted by Rhomboid at 1:57 PM on September 1, 2013


Maybe they'll just drill/jackhammer/dynamite it into smaller pieces instead of trying to remove it whole.
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:33 PM on September 1, 2013


They will most likely drill it and blow it up with a small charge to reduce it to easier to manage bits.
posted by localroger at 2:38 PM on September 1, 2013


To expound, they pretty much have to break the rock up not so much because they can't handle it as is, as because it can't be transported. Highway load limits make it impractical to ship individual pieces of anything which weigh more than about 50,000 pounds. And that boulder weighs at least 100,000 lb as it sits.
posted by localroger at 2:41 PM on September 1, 2013


It would be easier to just break it up and bury it on the spot, before rebuilding the road. There's no particular reason it needs to be hauled away.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:54 PM on September 1, 2013


There's no particular reason it needs to be hauled away.

They will haul it away. Taiwan might not be quite the same as the US, but I'm going to bet that the road engineers aren't going to want this non-spec artifact under the roadbed, and neither will the private landowners on either side of the road. This isn't some rural area where there's nothing but cows grazing on the side of the road and you can just dig a fifty cubic meter hole without anybody complaining.
posted by localroger at 4:09 PM on September 1, 2013


Rhomboid: "But how do you actually rig the thing?"

Yeah, they will break it apart because while you could rig that with multiple slings, you'd have to have some place to put it within the locus of the crane boom, which is unlikely. It's going to be kind of in the way in the random place it fell.
But basically, you would rig it with multiple (2-4) Tuflex slings cradling from opposite ends.
posted by Red Loop at 4:11 PM on September 1, 2013


La nitroglycérine. (unforgettable Wages of Fear sequence)
Note: do not watch during Labor Day fireworks.
posted by dhartung at 6:25 PM on September 1, 2013


A company called Birdgraphics has apparently photographed the aftermath of the boulder rolling using a UAV:

Overview of the rolling rock path, narrowly missing a house. You can also see that it appears the authorities have blasted the original rock to pieces already.

Picture of the rock that is still perched on top of the mountain.

More pictures on the Birdgraphics facebook page.
posted by gemmy at 10:52 AM on September 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow. The one still up there is way bigger. And it looks like it'll take one good downpour to dislodge it.

Glad that ain't my house down there.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:25 AM on September 3, 2013


If you zoom in on the still-perched picture you can see half a dozen or so people apparently surveying it. And I'd put that one at being closer to notstnot's estimate of the one that fell, 10 ft radius and probably over half a million pounds, at least 5 times the size of the one that hit the road.
posted by localroger at 11:57 AM on September 3, 2013


Oh, I just saw this too. Apparently they will be removing the one boulder still up on the hillside using a “silent static cracking technique” and it will take about two weeks to get it done.
posted by gemmy at 12:00 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a trail in the background of the overview picture that suggests that it isn't still perched, it just only got half way down the mountain. This wider overview seems to confirm that. It even had rolled *up* a bit of a ridge to get where it was, but that must lost it enough energy to stop it. Could have been far worse than it was.
posted by tavella at 2:28 PM on September 3, 2013


Catchfire: "that is a fucking big rock

I know! I read the words "giant boulder" but was totally unprepared for what they actually denote.
"

Here in Pittsburgh, "big rocks" sometimes break free from the cliffs bordering our highways and major roads. We have specialized fences built to deter (not "prevent") rocks from landing on our roadways.

When one does let go, a section of the cliffside lane will typically be shut down for a few days, as the Big Rock is cut into smaller pieces by a truck-sized jackhammer. Such smaller rock "chips" are then carried away by mining trucks - one "chip" being an entire truckload.

It kinda drives home the sort of force Ma Nature wields in her tiniest shudders.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:52 PM on September 3, 2013


« Older Comics Alliance's Andy Khouri and Betty Felon (cur...  |  Robert Peston answers a questi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments