A moving chunk of mountain hanging above the Cromwell Gorge in Central Otago caused problems for engineers working on the Clyde Dam project in the 1980s. Known as the Cairnmuir landslide, it was one of many that had to be stabilised before the dam was complete and Lake Dunstan formed. Engineers feared that if landslides slipped into the lake they could create waves that would overtop the dam. The toe of the Cairnmuir landslide was riddled with tunnels to drain water and was buttressed with huge rocks. When this failed to slow the movement, the surface was paved to stop rainwater seeping in. This produced the unusual terraced landscape.
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Photograph by John Walrond
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