Ruina montium

The landscape of Las Médulas is a result of ruina montium.

Ruina montium (Latin, "wrecking of mountains") was an ancient Roman mining technique that draws on the principle of Pascal's barrel.[1] Miners would excavate narrow cavities down into a mountain, whereby filling the cavities with water would cause pressures large enough to fragment thick rock walls.[2] It was described by Pliny the Elder (Natural History 33.21), who served as procurator in Spain.


  1. ^ Ancient Engineers' Inventions: Precursors of the Present (Springer, 2009), p. 135.
  2. ^ Rossi, Cesare; Russo, Flavio; Russo, Russo (2009). Ancient Engineers' Inventions 8.  

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