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Churnalism: Recently in Southern Spain a rock rolled onto a road.

Jill Havern | Published on the 09.12.18 11:27 | 686 Views

Recently in Southern Spain a rock rolled onto a road.

On any test it is quite a big rock, and clearly caused some disruption to local traffic.

This is how the local ex-pat English Press dealt with it.

Karl Smallman - 20 November 2018

A MAIN road on Spain’s south coast has been blocked after a massive boulder crash [sic] down onto the carriageway almost blocking it almost completely.  [sic]

The 112 Andalucia emergency control road [sic] said the N-340 is closed between km 287.1 (Torrox) and 288.7 (Nerja) in both directions.

An alternative route is in operation via the A-7 motorway.

No-one was reported hurt in the incident.

Recent heavy rains have made many areas unstable and a landslide was blamed for the derailment of a train near Barcelona that left one person dead this morning (Tuesday).

Fairly straightforward, if hurried, reporting of facts.

We now know no one was hurt

It is a Massive Boulder, and it Crashed Down. . .

It almost blocked the road completely.

20 November 2018

The N 340 coastal road from Torrox Costa to Nerja has had to be closed off this evening due to heavy rains earlier in the day causing a landslide. A huge rock fell from the cliff blocking one side of the road.

Fortunately no damage to individuals or vehicles has been reported. Emergency services are currently securing the area this evening and directing traffic from Torrox and Nerja to use the Autovia. The rock had fallen near the Calaceite beach.

So now we know there is no damage to individuals (!)  or vehicles.

It is a Huge Rock, and it Fell . . .

It blocked one side of the road.

EUGENIO CABEZAS   20 November 2018

The old N-340 coast road between Nerja and Torrox was closed to traffic on Tuesday afternoon after a large rock broke away from the mountainside above and fell onto the carriageway.

No one was hurt in the incident which occurred in the municipality of Torrox, not far from the municipal border with Nerja and near La Restinga beach bar.

So now we are reassured that no one was hurt, and the road has been closed

It is a Large Rock, and it Fell . . .

The road is closed

Boulder Forces Road Closures Wednesday, November 21, 2018

By Hugh MacArthur

A huge boulder came crashing down onto the N-340 between Nerja and Torrox effectively blocking one lane.

There was no way that the netting that is supposed to prevent rock falls could have prevented the boulder falling once it was moving, which it did, not far from the Chiringuito La Restinga around 16.00h yesterday afternoon.

Fortunately, there were no cars passing underneath at the time so nobody was hurt.

The Guardia Civil closed the road under instructions from the Mayor of Torrox, Óscar Medina and it is likely that it will stay closed as the safety wire netting has been left in such a state that further rainfall will bring more stones and earth down.

Municipal engineers have decided to use heavy machinery to break the boulder down in order to be able to move it. They have also calculated that it will cost in the order of 40,000 euros to repair the road surface and the safety netting on the hillside.

So now we know there were no cars passing at the time, and no one was hurt.  

We also know they are going to break up the boulder

It is a Huge Boulder, and it Came Crashing Down . . .  

It effectively blocked one lane

And then the Olive Press picks up the report.

We can always rely on the Olive Press to pick the best bits, to fill in the details, and to give us a really meaty story !

 Charlie Smith - 21 Nov, 2018

DRIVERS in Granada have narrowly cheated death as an enormous five-tonne boulder crashed down onto the carretera.

The N-340 road between Nerja and Torrox was completely closed off yesterday, as engineers began clearing the highway of the 25-metre-cubed rock, which fell at around 4:00pm.

Narrowly Cheated Death ?   (But there was no one there. No Vehicles and No People)

And now it has grown yet more and it is an ENORMOUS Boulder, and it Crashed Down. . .

And the road is not just Closed.  It is Completely Closed.

And now, suddenly, out of the aether, we have some dimensions. 

We are told it weighs Five Tonnes, and is “25-metre-cubed”

EUGENIO CABEZAS.  TORROX. 23 November 2018

The old N-340 coast road between Nerja and Torrox will be closed to traffic for the next month after a large rock broke away from the hillside alongside and fell onto the carriageway below on Tuesday afternoon.

No one was hurt in the incident which occurred in the municipality of Torrox, not far from the municipal border with Nerja and near La Restinga beach bar.

It appears that the net fitted to the rockface to prevent rockfalls had broken. Earth and smaller rocks also fell onto the road.

Although one of the lanes was initially still open to traffic, the mayor of Torrox, Óscar Medina, ordered the total closure of the road.

The rock, weighing more than five tonnes, was removed the same night after a hydraulic breaker was first used to divide it into smaller pieces.

Eugenio sticks to his  previous ‘Large Rock’ and ‘fell’ of 20 November, but he now, two days after the Olive Press report, adds a mass, “More than Five Tonnes”

The N-340 coast road between Nerja and Torrox was closed on November 20 after a massive boulder, estimated to weigh over five tons, fell from the cliffs and landed in the middle of the carriageway. No one was injured after the giant rock, believed to have been loosened by heavy rain, crashed through a protective fence in the area of Calaceite beach.

It was broken up by a hammer drill, producing 25 square metres of debris, while the cliffs above were inspected for other potential dangers.

Soltalk go for Euroweekly’s Massive Boulder, and then call it a Giant Rock.  They repeat the Olive Press’ estimate of the mass, “Over Five Tonnes”.

They then give a measurement of the debris, at 25 square metres [sic]

And just when we all thought we were enjoying it and were settled in for an entire Month - after 2 weeks they open the road again !

EUGENIO CABEZAS 7 December 2018

N-340 coast road in Torrox reopens two weeks after landslide

It was originally expected that the road would be closed for a month

The section of the N-340 coastal road which was closed two weeks ago, following a landslide, reopened on Wednesday.  [Wednesday 5th December. 15 days]

What facts can we glean from all this copy-and-paste churnalism ?

On any test it is a fairly impressive piece of stone to be sitting in the middle of a road, so we can’t complain too much about ‘journalists hyperbole’, though if it is Olive Press - Enormous, then how high is the cliff behind it ?  

The problem with exaggeration is that eventually one absolutely, totally, and completely runs out of suitable vocabulary.

(Enormous, Absolutely enormous, Unbelievably enormous, Gigantic, Humungous, Vast,  Err . . . !)

Is it possible however that not one of these journalists ever attended a simple mathematics class, or has grasped the differences between length, area and volume.

Let us look at the photo again, and concentrate on a convenient length reference – the man standing on the north side.

For these purposes it doesn’t really matter if he is 6’ tall or 5’7”.  (185 or 170 cm for those in the EU)

The rock is clearly 2 and a bit man-units high by 3 wide, and we may assume it is about 3 deep - (or it would have rolled over)

So we can calculate it as follows

2 x 3 x 3 = 18 cubic units

Chop off the 8 corners, and we are left very neatly with ≈. 10 cubic units

Or, you could say it approximates to a sphere of radius 1.5 units, and therefore the volume 

given by V=4/3πr[size=13]3 = 4/3.π.1.533  ≈. 14.13717[/size]

Which amounts to almost the same thing.

Stone, or rock has a density significantly greater than that of water - which is why it sinks

The best Rule of Thumb is to assume a specific gravity of around 2.5 for generic ‘rock’ 

(Chalk is 2.4, Granite 2.9)

So our bit of Spanish rock is going to weigh around 30 to 35 tonnes.  Not 5 tonnes.

So where did Olive Press get 5 tonnes from ?

A long time ago, out of reach of the internet Archive, the Olive Press ran an article about a “bullfight’, during its long, principled, and consistent stance against this activity.

The article described the bull as a “5 tonne beast”.  I was rebuked for pointing out that 5 tonnes is the weight of a good sized male African Elephant, and that a Spanish fighting bull comes into the arena at between 475 and 525 kg. (Any heavier than that indicates a fat and sluggish animal which will not allow the torero to perform well.)

So the discrepancy was a factor of 10.

(Soltalk’s figure for the debris measured in Square metres is simply innumeracy at its worst.)

The Olive Press “25-metres-cubed” is very strange.  It may be a clumsy way of putting

25 m3  into words, but 25 Cubic metres is more usual.

It indicates a volume of 25 cubic metres, best imagined as a cube with a side of roughly 3 metres.

If 25 cubic metres is what was meant, then why could they not work out that 25 cubic metres (= 25,000 litres) weighing 5 tonnes (= 5,000 kg) gives us a density of 0.2kg/l

Which is very neatly – approximately that of Balsa Wood !

But as they used to say at school, 

“if you copy from the boy sitting next to you, you will include all his mistakes with your own“  

Such is modern Journalism.  And such is the educational level of journalists on free papers.  

All we actually needed was the photo !

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