24 January 2012
Breaking (with pictures) – very large landslide in Papua New Guinea
Posted by Dave Petley
At 6 am local time this morning (Tuesday) a very large landslide occurred in the Hides and Komo area of Papua New Guinea. This area is currently the focus of an ExxonMobil project to build a LNG pipeline, although at the moment is really unclear as to whether the landslide is linked to this work. However, there are news reports that local people may have been buried, with suggestions that there may be as many as 40 people missing. It appears that all those involved in the pipeline project are safe.
Surprisingly for such a recent event, ABC News has two very high quality images of the landslide. The first of these seems to show the source area:
A couple of things to note. First,, obviously, this is really big. Second, looking at the area to the right side of the head scarp it appears that there has been some slope cutting in this area – indeed there may be a couple of tracks and suchlike. I wonder why? These tracks have been cut off by the margin of the slide, suggesting that the pre-failure morphology had been modified. Second, towards the bottom of the image a road has been buried to a substantial depth.
The other image captures the downslope impact of the event:
The proximity of the houses suggests that there could well have been loss of inhabited areas. Note the water flowing at the top of the image.
Unfortunately the images neither support nor refute suggestions that the pipeline works might have played a part in this. I am sure that more information will become available in the next few hours. The apparently dry conditions at the time of failure are quite perplexing.
An other report provides additional images : an overview of the entire (or almost) body and the early researches. Note that the title seems to contain a typo regarding to the number of fatalities.
thank very much. it is possible have upgrade information (geology, litology etc.)?
Is there a website that would put this and other large landslides into context, such a cubic meters, New Orlean’s Super Dome, etc?
Did the field operator construct the road where the slope failed? Their press statements state that the road has been cut, but not who built or maintains the road.
I’m amazed that there’s not a journalist out there gathering information and finding out who is responsible for all these deaths.
Considering the magnitude of the event, Papua New Guinea is facing an unexpected situation.
Thus, in my point, finding a responsible may not be a short-term priority.
According to the many reports emerging from Internet since Tuesday, emergency authorities and rescue crews are facing the huge task of recovering bodies and moving a huge amount of debris, that’s the priority.
The question of who is responsable, if any, should be focused in the incoming days.
However, as the LNG project involves $US15 billion (http://abcasiapacificnews.com/stories/201201/3415905.htm) and considering the importance of a such project for the PNG’s further economy, this question seems to be quite sensitive.
There are some additional pictures at the following URL:
A bit more info here from a local blogger covering the incident
I assume that Rex Tillerson will follow Tony Hayward’s example and resign if it is confirmed that this massive loss of life was caused by Exxon
thank for notices.
sometihing about geology and lithology?
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