20 April 2015
The Bolshaya Talda earthflow
Many thanks to those who have helped to uncover the facts behind the amazing Bolshaya Talda earthflow in Russia, which was filmed in the amazing video about which I blogged late last week:
A couple of people emailed to suggest, and Brett Gilley noted in comments, that this might be a mine waste landslide, based on the materials involved, the appearance of the hills in the background and the presence of heavy equipment. In comments on the original post, Michal cracked it though:
Whilst it is difficult to be certain, the most likely location appears to me to be at about 54.144, 87.098. This site has all of the correct characteristics, including the appearance of the topography, the presence of the high voltage cables and the structure of the road:
The image above is dated 8th September 2014. There is also an image from 9th September 2013 of the same site:
A comparison between the two images suggests that there has been recent active storage of waste at this site. The video suggests that it was this waste that collapsed to generate the landslide. It was fortunate that the failure occurred in the daytime and in an area with no houses. Of course, landslides like this should be avoidable – the mining industry is still associated with far too many landslides. Recent examples include:
- The Shawa landslide in China
- The Jiana/Gyama landslide in Tibet
- The Bingham Canyon landslide in Utah
- The Hatfield Colliery landslide in England
- The Collolar landslide in Turkey
- And of course the Aberfan landslide in Wales
And there are many more.
Thanks to everyone who helped to unpick the riddle of this landslide.