18 December 2013

A dramatic new landslide video from Minas Gerais, Brazil

Posted by Dave Petley

Minais Gerais landslide video

Heavy rain in Minas Gerais, Bazil in recent days has generated large numbers of landslides.  One of these, in Minas Gerais, killed a family of six people.  This slide has apparently been caught on video, which is on youtube:



From the video I think the component captured on the film is a small, later stage event that followed the main failure.  The slide appears to have been very translational in nature (there is an almost planar shear surface) but very rapid with a long runout. The image below, from O Tempo, supports this interpretation:

Minas Gerais


The landslide location and details of the events

News reports suggest that this occurred on Tuesday, although there is little more information in English.   This news report (in Portuguese) explains what happened (this is the Google translate version, with some edits from me for clarity):

Six people died on Tuesday (17 December), buried by a landslide caused by heavy rains in the rural municipality of Sardoá, located about 110 km from Governador Valadares, in eastern Minas Gerais.  According to firefighters, of the six killed, four were children.

Also in the late morning of Tuesday, the 17th, another slip nearly caused another tragedy, while rescue teams worked in the attempt to recover three other bodies.

A clearing 100 meters opened in the middle of the eucalyptus plantation. The land of the hill gave way and buried a house that was underneath. Locals and city officials helped in the search. Other minor landslides were recorded during the action of the firefighters in the same region.

Because of the instability of the ground, the Fire Department has suspended the search in the early afternoon. Besides Firefighters Valadares, another team of 15 skilled in military burials followed from Belo Horizonte to Sardoá. The path is made by land because it still rains a lot in the region, meaning that a low cloud ceiling prevented flying.

Members of the State Coordination of Civil Defense (CEDEC), experts from the civil police and military police of Guanhães Sardoá also part of the task force that meets the occurrence.

My interpretation is that the video captured here is the second one (or one of the subsequent events) referred to in the article.