23 December 2015
Videos of the Shenzhen landslide
As questions continue to be asked as to how the Shenzhen landslide, which is now thought to have killed 76 people, can have been allowed to happen, I thought it would be interesting to post a collection of videos of the landslide. Remarkably, one survivor was recovered today, and is expected to survive. Another man was recovered shortly afterwards, but died after being rescued. It is rare for people to be recovered from a landslide so long after the event.
Some of the most dramatic footage is of buildings being impacted by the Shenzhen landslide and then collapsing. The relentless power of the landslide is quite notable:
A different view captures both the advance of the landslide and the explosion of the major gas pipeline that was ruptured by the landslide:
This video captures additional footage of the exploding gas main and the landslide impacting the various buildings:
I have seen some discussion as to what this represents. I suspect it is simply that the pipeline had ruptured and a large volumes of gas was escaping. However, the landslide continued to move, so debris continually covered the ruptured pipe, causing the gas to burst through the sediment, creating this remarkable fountaining effect.
And this drone footage shows the aftermath of the landslide. The only mercy here is that the slide occurred on a Sunday, when the buildings were probably less densely occupied. If it had occurred on a work day then the losses could have been much worse:-
I remain intrigued by the material that forms this landslide. It has been repeatedly described as construction waste, but it is clearly not formed from demolished buildings. Indeed to me this looks to be excavated soil and weathered rock – take a look at the image below and the one at the top of the page:
If I was investigating this landslide I would want to identify the very large excavations that must be ongoing in the city, or the surrounding area, to generate this amount of spoil. Interestingly, it appears that Shenzhen is extending its underground light rail system at present, with 87 km of new track. There has been some speculation that the two events might be connected, but I have no evidence at all to link them.
Finally, the very best collection of images that I have seen of the landslide are on the Getty News website, including a stunning aerial image looking along the length of the landslide. I cannot reproduce the image here, but it is worth a look on their website.