Blast Removes Huge Boulder

The 800-ton boulder was perched above a road in southern Israel and posed a danger to motorists. It is no more.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 8:44 PM

Mountain Explosion
Mountain Explosion
Israel news photo: Tamar

A huge boulder that endangered motorists was removed in a controlled explosion Tuesday by the National Company for Roads and private firm Tamar, which specializes in advanced quarrying techniques. The rock, estimated at 800 tons, had been perched about 40 meters above the Machtesh Ramon – Eilat road (Route 40). About 70 kilograms of explosives were used.

Engineering experts said that the rock could have remained in place for hundreds of years – and yet, a slight earth tremor or even stormy weather could have caused it to collapse suddenly. Authorities decided to remove the danger that the mammoth boulder would one day crash down on the road, which is used by thousands of cars every day. 

The crack that had formed between the huge rock and the rest of the cliff was discovered during a tour of the area held by the managers of the southern district in the National Company for Roads. The tour was held with the aim of identifying hazards and changes that had formed on the ground following the relatively rainy winter.

The need for the tour was especially acute in the Negev desert, where large amounts of rain fell in short spans of time, causing flooding and powerful streams in the riverbeds.