25 April 2010

A huge landslide on Freeway No.3 in Taiwan

Posted by Dave Petley

Taiwan today suffered an extraordinary landslide in Highway number 3, which links Taipei with Keelung.   The landslide appears to have completely buried the road for a distance of about 300 m.  The depth of burial looks to be more than 10 m.  There are reports that there were a number of cars on the road at the time – if so, the chances of survival are slim.

At the moment the available pictures of this event are poor – no doubt much better ones will emerge tomorrow as this will be a very big story in Taiwan.  The best I have been able to find so far are these picture from TVBS:

There is also a youtube video of a news report from the slide site, which you should be able to view below:

Compare the video above with this image of the site before failure to get an idea of just how large this slide is:

Interestingly, there was no recorded rainfall or earthquakes at the time of the collapse.  The mechanism and nature of the failure will be very interesting.

I have been arguing for some time that Taiwan needs to start managing its slopes better.  Will this finally see the authorities take some action?

Hat tip to Chingying Tsou of Kyoto University for pointing this one out and providing the links.