On 23rd 1999, a catastrophic avalanche happened in Galtür, Austria, which is in the innermost Paznaun Valley, the furthermost southwestern corner of the state of Tyrol. Galtür attracts thousands of tourists each year, which makes it famous a ski resort, and in February 1999, 4000 visitors and residents were staying in the village of Galtür before everything happened.
Galtür had been always mapped in 3 different hazard zones by computer modeling with avalanche simulation: red zone; yellow zone and green zone. In red zones construction of any kind should be forbidden. In yellow zones certain safety measures apply and strict building codes are enforced. Although the threat of avalanches is present the buildings were constructed in such a way that people should not be harmed. Figure 1: Location of the village of Galtür, where the avalanche happened. [From Google map]
Overview of the event
The avalanche was believed initiated from the mountain of Grieskogle, which is 1170-metre higher above the village of Galtür at around 4pm. It penetrated the boundary of the village and came to peace in just a few minutes. The whole event lasted less than 3 minuets, resulting the death of 31 people including tourists and local residents, and destructed half of the village. It was believed that 11 houses were completely buried in the avalanched; 17 further houses were partially destroyed or damaged. The speed of the snow powder in the upper layer reached top