Instability and geotechnical problems of the Buddha niches and surrounding cliff in Bamiyan Valley, central Afghanistan

Claudio Margottini

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18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the slope-instability processes and geological hazards affecting the historical site of Bamiyan, central Afghanistan, a major world-cultural heritage site. Here, two standing Buddhas carved in rock during the 2nd-4th centuries A.D. were destroyed by the Taliban in March 2001. There are very evident slope instabilities resulting from both explosions and natural processes: rock slides and rock falls had already occurred in the past and most areas are prone to collapse. Under the coordination of UNESCO, field data were collected and laboratory tests were performed to determine mechanisms for potential evolution of the cliff and niches. Areas of greatest instability, based on the field survey and data interpretation for both the small and great Buddha niches and surrounding cliff, were determined. This information helps to identify the most suitable method for restoration, in accord with the high cultural value of this site. © Springer-Verlag 2004.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41 - 51
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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