Sometimes, Earth sinks

In order to live properly, as citizens and humans that are integrated in a community, belonging to a certain geographical area, we need to know about, and prevent the possible issues that may occur to our living perimeter.  Natural hazards can strike anytime.  Our duty is at least to be informed towards our endangered territories and how and if we can make steps to eventually stop the destructive processes. As children, we are taught these valuable lessons, first of all, by our parental side and, of course, by our teachers. Unfortunately, this type of environmental education is not a focus point in our schools. That is the main reason, competitions and all types of competitive learning and teaching are well received and admired, especially, for their immediate satisfaction.

In this material, we are going to present the real problems that Ocnele Mari had and has, referring to its landslides. 

Our dictionary says that the term landsliderefers to several forms of mass wasting, which include a wide range of ground movements, such as rockfalls, deep-seated slope failures, mudflows and debris flows. Landslides occur in a variety of environments, characterized by either steep or gentle slope gradients: from mountain ranges to coastal cliffs or even underwater, in which case they are called submarine landslides. Gravity is the primary driving force for a landslide to occur, but there are other factors affecting slope stability which produce specific conditions that make a slope prone to failure. In many cases, the landslide is triggered by a specific event, such as a heavy rainfall, an earthquake, a slope cut to build a road, and many others, although this is not always identifiable.

Regarding Ocnele Mari, it was hundreds of years of salt exploitation that affected the soil stability and consequently led to diverse collapses. However, these collapses are the reason behind both the former high tourism rate and the actual natural disastrous events.

In the past, the slope failures in this area attracted hundreds of tourists, willing to discover the benefits of the resulted salt lakes, but in the last two decades, unfortunately, the collapses brought only trouble and worries to the locals. Moreover, even if specialists' predictions show that no other landslide is foreseen in the following significant decades, the fact that the exploitation of salt is due to continue, always gives rise to the indignation of the local families.

"This collapse did not take us by surprise. It was known from the beginning when and where it would happen. However, our study was not taken into consideration by the powerful influent people at the time, but they turned to a time-consuming action and sent it for expertise somewhere in the West. Therefore, delaying the implementation of the proposed solution caused the sinking. Indifference caused the sinking." This is the statement of a specialist, regarding the first destructive landslide in Ocnele Mari. What is more, this particular landslide synchronized with the collapse of the second field of probes, a field on which an involved community, named Teica, had been developing until September 12, 2001. It was then swallowed by earth, leaving hardened souls and eyes behind.

When people in Ocnele Mari were finally re-enjoying peace and silence, feeling once again safe and sound, a new landslide occurred in 2004, followed by another one on Christmas Eve in 2005. Landings were destroyed and other houses became swallowed by the never-ending land. That year, a lot of helpless people tried to start over, thinking about their chance of living a peaceful life and nowadays, people still choose to leave the town behind, although the present technological equipment and experienced specialists can successfully prevent the disastrous landslides. But the danger never disappears and so do the worries and the awful memories of the locals.

Earth sometimes sinks, that is true. And it will continue to sink due to our hopeless thinking that Earth heals by itself and that we can't interfere in any way to preserve and value it. People dream a lot about their future: who they are going to become, where they are going to travel, how amazing their living is going to look like. But they forget something even higher than themselves.

Mother Nature can destroy all of those in a second. Even though sometimes, uncertainty destroys the planned, it's better to know that our trying failed, rather than our unknown or worse, our indifference. Value what you have, change it properly, improve it, but never underestimate the power of it. Together we can save little by little, not only our grounds, but our future dreams and plans. Knowledge is above us all!