7 January 2009

Another video of the Guatemala landslide

Posted by Dave Petley

It now appears that there are two videos of the Guatemala landslide. The second one, which is not as clear as the original, has appeared on the Telediaro 3 web site. It can be viewed here:


Meanwhile, there remains considerable uncertainty as to the number of victims (we may never know for certain I suspect), whilst speculation is intensifying regarding the cause. Given the clear size of the landslide (see the video plus the image below from Prensa Libre), comments elsewhere that road widening was the primary trigger look to be wide of the improbable. Clearly there is no record of seismicity or of intense rainfall (everything looks dry in the video). The most likely trigger is therefore progressive failure, which is consistent with reports of increased activity in the fortnight before the failure, reports of the slope emitting noises and the fact that the road had been closed prior to collapse.

Finally, there is continued concerns that a second major failure might occur given the oversteepened nature of the upper part of the slope.