9 April 2010

The location of the Morro do Bumba landslide in Niteroi, Brazil

Posted by Dave Petley

Thanks to a video posted on the BBC website, I have managed to locate the Niteroi landslide, which is a garbage dump slide that is believed to have killed over 200 people.  The slide is at the following coordinates:  22.893° S, -43.085°W

On a Google Earth image this area looks like this:

 A zoomed in view looks like this (the crown of the landslide is at the bottom of the image):

Thus, a perspective view of the landslide looks like this (looking from the toe towards the crown):

It is clear that a large number of houses have been destroyed.  Google Earth measurements suggest that the slide is about 300 metres long and 50-70 metres wide.    It is interesting that most of the crown appears to be located at a road (see the screenshot from the video below) – which might suggest that drainage was an issue in the causation of the failure:

The description of the slide as an old garbage dump is certainly correct judging by this image from O Globo:

The likelihood of surviving burial in a garbage landslide is very low given the density of the material, the release of methane gas and in some cases the release of heat from the decaying material – see my earlier post here on the hazards posed by garbage dump landslides.  Needless to say the recovery and clean up operation will be both very difficult and very unpleasant for those involved.