Monday, 22 May 2023
The University of Granada (UGR) is leading a study commissioned by the Diputación, Malaga’s provincial authority, and the Caminito del Rey’s joint venture operators as part of a health and safety assessment for the Caminito del Rey.
The main objective of the project is to identify which are the areas of the popular visitor attraction are most exposed to landslides and rcokfalls, "using cutting-edge methods and approaches."
The team in charge of carrying out this investigation is made up of national and international researchers in the analysis of geological risks. It includes experts from the Department of Geodynamics of the UGR, specialists in photogrammetry and high-precision topography from the University of Jaén (UJA), as well as professionals in landslide simulation from the prestigious National Centre of the CSIC (geological and mining institute of Spain).
Despite the existing protection measures at the Caminito del Rey walkway, suspended on the vertical cliff walls of the gorge, it is necessary to address active tourism risks in a special way in complex natural environments due to their magnitude and extension, the group said in a statement.
The information obtained from the new project will make it possible to determine the areas at greatest risk of landslides and it will be used to improve the tourist attraction’s safety plans, with the aim of preventing any possible incidents on the Caminito del Rey. “As a leader in this type of project, the University of Granada demonstrates once again its commitment to academic excellence and the safety of those who visit this iconic place,” the statement added..
The project will be carried out in several stages, each of which will provide data and tools to improve risk management on the Caminito del Rey. These stages will include establishing new guidelines, creating three-dimensional models of the canyons, preparing a detailed geological map, and collecting data to develop a geographic information system, among other key aspects.
In the first phase, a high-resolution digital terrain model of the Caminito del Rey will be produced with the help of drones and laser scanners. The high-resolution topographic data will be collated to create a three-dimensional digital model of the attraction. This 3D model will be essential to simulate rock falls and design future protection measures against these phenomena.
The second is the collection, treatment and preparation of information for the simulation of landslides. In this phase, the data necessary to simulate landslides will be collected, processed and analysed. The results of this stage will include the identification of potentially unstable points, the creation of a detailed digital geological map, the location of areas prone to landslides and the data required for the simulation model, among others.
The third is a simulation of landslides on the Caminito del Rey. After this phase it will be possible to identify the points most likely to suffer rockfalls and to determine the parameters associated with these events, such as the height and speed of the rocks detached along their trajectory.
These stages of the project demonstrate a comprehensive and meticulous approach to improving risk management on the Caminito del Rey, highlighting the commitment of the University of Granada and the managers of the Caminito to provide effective and advanced solutions in this important area. The main purpose of this research is to increase the safety of the Caminito del Rey, seeking to make it one of the safest gorge trails in the world, considering its physical environment.
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