Google Maps photo reveals source of rock slide, NM officials say


US 82 in New Mexico remains closed due to a Jan. 28 rock slide that left huge boulders across all travel lanes.

Cloudcroft Fire Department photo

When boulders the size of cars suddenly appear on a highway, it’s natural to wonder where they came from.

In the case of a massive rock slide reported Saturday, Jan. 28, in New Mexico, that riddle was solved when someone checked a Google Maps photo for the spot.

That July 2022 image seems terrifying when viewed in retrospect. It shows motorists have been driving under what amounted to a ticking time bomb — a large slab of rock that stuck out over U.S. 82 like a balcony.

These are the before and after photos shared by the Cloudcroft Fire Department. Left photo John Duresky/ Right photo Street View from July 2022. © 2023 Google

That balcony snapped off early Saturday, leading to a wall of boulders taller than vehicles slamming down on both traffic lanes.

No one was hurt.

The Cloudcroft Fire Department reports motorist John Duresky of High Rolls drove up to the rubble “while dust was still in the air,” and he’s the one who checked Google Maps.

“He found a historical photo showing exactly where the rock originated,” the department posted.

The time it fell has not been reported, but the state posted closure warnings at 9:11 a.m., noting traffic was being rerouted 13 miles from High Rolls to Alamogordo. The highway remained closed Monday, Jan. 30, with no firm reopening date.

The flat layer of rock jutting out of the cliff side is what fell on U.S. 82, officials say. Street View image from July 2022. © 2023 Google

News of the rock slide had a chilling effect on people who regularly drive on the highway. Some admitted they long feared that particular spot and would “say a prayer” when driving under the rock.

“You don’t know how many times when it was raining I kept looking up. Knew it would happen some day,” Larinea Nolan wrote.

“That is a chunk of mountain slide, not so much a rock slide,” Daniel Delong wrote.

“People need to realize this can happen anytime,” Gaye Fox posted.

“Hand of God. A Saturday and high volume traffic, how did it NOT crush someone? Wow,” Sandra Chamness wrote..

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button