Yungay is in the mountains north of Huaraz, which is north of Lima in Peru. It's a place I knew nothing about but was a stop on a day trip out of Huaraz to visit a couple of lakes. Its an very moving place, and was extremely atmospheric on a grey, overcast day.
On May 31, 1970 a debris avalanche caused by the 1970 Ancash earthquake buried the whole town, killing 25,000 people. The earthquake triggered an unstable mass of glacial ice about 800 meters across at the top of Nevado Huascarán to fall. More than 50 million cubic meters of debris slid approximately 15 kilometers downhill at an angle of about 14 degrees. Speeds between 200 km/h to 400 km/h were achieved. Only 92 people survived, most of whom were in the cemetery and stadium at the time of the earthquake, as these zones were the highest in town.
Many people now come to Yungay just to visit the Campo Santo just before the current Yungay if you come from Huaraz. This is the site of the old Yungay which has been left untouched after the disaster and is therefore a huge cemetery. You can see some leftovers of the old church and of the palm trees that used to be on the Plaza de Armas. Roses were planted at the site. The Peruvian government has forbidden excavation in the area where the old town of Yungay is buried, declaring it a national cemetery. The current town was rebuilt 1500 meters north of the destroyed city.
For more taphophilia please visit Julie's Taphophile Tragics.