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the valley for three miles or more rushed this mighty avalanche of death, sweeping everything before it, and leaving nothing but death and destruction behind it. When it struck the railroad bridge at Johnstown, and not being able to force its way through that stone structure, the debris was gorged and the water dammed up fifty feet in ten minutes.
    "This avalanche was composed of more that 100,000 tons of rocks, locomotives, freight cars, car trucks, iron, logs, trees and other material pushed forward by 16,000,000 tons of water falling 500 feet, and it was this that, sliding over the ground, mowed down the houses, mills and factories as a mowing machine does a field of grain. It swept down with a roaring, crushing sound, at the rate of a mile a minute, and hurled 10,000 people into the jaws of death in less than half an hour. And so the people called it the avalanche of death."

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen