New at Rosetta Stones: The Geologic Headaches of Constructing Sochi’s Olympic Village


Are you kinda excited for the Winter Olympics, my darlings? I mean, despite the fact it’s in Russia, which enjoys persecuting gay people cheerily waving rainbow flags at the opening ceremonies when it’s not busy claiming they don’t exist. And yes, they destroyed some perfectly good wetlands and dumped construction waste all over a pretty resort town in order to create structures on dangerous ground.

But that’s the fascinating part! Lots of geological consideration went in to all that construction. I had a look at one of the papers written before the first hole was dug, and yikes, is this ever complex. You may or may not love this year’s Winter Olympics, but you’ll definitely find the geology behind it interesting. Go check it out.

Edited to add: I stumbled across a seismograph of what Seahawks fans do to the ground round here, and just couldn’t help myself. Behold, the seismic impact of Seahawks fans. I’m coining the term anthropogenic seismicity if it hasn’t already been done.

Comments

  1. rq says

    Mm, yes, building on swamps – considering Russia is so vast, the choice to present Sochi as a candidate city was unwise with regard to the finances to be invested (then again, all the easier to skim off the top, right, with so many millions flying about, who can keep them straight?).
    Then there’s this:

    construction hasn’t proved as clean as the Russian government had planned

    (emphasis mine)
    Ha, ha, very much ha. You think the Russian government actually planned for things to go cleanly? Ha, ha, ha. On paper, of course – there’s an international community looking over their shoulder. But in real life, on the ground? Not likely. I’m pretty sure things are going just the way they expected them to (fast, cheap, dirty). Afterwards, they’ll probably just throw another few millions around to clean the city up, because it is a lucrative spot worth the effort. Resort and all that, can’t make it too cheap-looking for the local oligarchs and their friends (although their area is probably still as pristine as before).

    That wetland they covered up was probably a locally significant (if not globally, due to bird migratory patterns) wetland, home and transit location for many indigenous and migrating bird species that now have no more nesting/resting places. But again, I don’t think the environment has ever been much of a priority to the former USSR (considering the waste they left behind…). So sad.

    They should take some lessons from the ark builders to make flood-proof buildings. For the laughs.

    I will consider a gold medal for Latvian in skeleton as a fuck-you in the face of Russia, but that’s about all the vindication I think I’ll be getting out of these Games.

    But you’re right, the geology is fascinating.

  2. Trebuchet says

    That’s an interesting pair of posts, considering that the Seahawks stadium is also built on fill over a tidal mudflat. The fill’s been there around a hundred years longer, of course, but the ground is still pretty much jello I think. And it’s an earthquake prone area, as well.

  3. Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy says

    someone has to have coined anthropogenic seismicity, for fracking or the effects of reservoirs, no?

  4. moarscienceplz says

    I’m coining the term anthropogenic seismicity if it hasn’t already been done.

    Hmmm, doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. How about HawkQuake?