16 September 2010

Zhouqu landslide – NASA satellite image

Posted by Dave Petley

NASA have somehow managed to find a gap in the clouds to collect a satellite image of the Zhouqu landslide site.  Readers at the time of the landslide last month will remember that I was wondering about the source of the slides.  Although this image does not give a full answer, it gets us a part of the way there:

A zoom into the affected area yields this:

The slides (note the smaller one to the right of the main event) clearly originated as a series of smaller slips on the walls and headwaters of the upstream catchments.  These appear to have coalesced to form the main events.  This is consistent with processes observed elsewhere during periods of exceptional rainfall.

Meanwhile, I am now in Christchurch in New Zealand, site of the earthquake of 12 days ago.  Every 30 minutes or so my chair shakes as an aftershock rattles the area, which is a very surreal experience.