3 December 2014
The Domkar Monastery landslide
In mid November the ever impressive Tibet Earthquake twitter feed (@aam868) posted a number of reports about a landslide at the Domkar Monastery in Qinghai, eastern Tibet. This landslide, appears to have occurred on 2nd November 2014, is both spectacular and catastrophic. The Domkar Monastery is located at 33.01N, 97.14E:
The site appears to have undergone a massive rotational slip with an enormous displacement across the back scar: From the Tibet Express, these are the before and after shots:
Note the damage to the access road. Interestingly, this site was severely damaged by the Yushu earthquake in 2010; rebuilding had only been completed this year. In fact, if you look carefully at the before image it is clear that the back scar of the landslide had already formed, with substantial displacement have already occurred. The lateral scarp of the landslide has cut through the main temple, with major part of the building having been completely destroyed. China News has this image of the landslide, showing some detail of the damage. A translation of the text confirms that there were no injuries:
The material forming the landslide appears to be loess, which is prone to large-scale landslides. It would be interesting to know if there had been any construction works at the toe of the slope – often rotational landslides of this type are triggered by unloading of the foot of the slope.