21 September 2018
The enormous mining-induced Naga City landslide in Cebu, the Philippines
Yesterday an enormous landslide occurred at Naga City in Cebu, the Philippines. This was an extraordinary event, without doubt one of the largest mining-induced landslides in recent years. Whilst it has garnered very little publicity outside the Philippines, this was an unusual landslide:-
Asian Policy Press has an excellent gallery of images, including this one:-
As the image above shows, the margins of the landslide buried houses built around the quarry. To date it has been confirmed that 21 people were killed; a further 74 are reported to be missing.
There is an interesting video on Youtube showing the landslide. The first part appears to have been shot ahead of the failure, and highlights multiple tension cracks, some looking very fresh. The images appear to correspond to the landscape of the failed area, and the shots that include the quarry are credible, although I cannot guarantee that they are from the same site. The second part shows grainy but amazing footage of the landslide in motion. The third part shows the aftermath of the landslide, shot from the air.<a href="https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2018/09/18/barangay-ucab-landslide/">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgg2umsWDH8</a>
Google Earth has good imagery of the site of the landslide, taken in 2017:-
Whilst Planet Labs have an image captured yesterday after the landslide:-
The imagery suggests that there can be little doubt that this slide was associated with the mining activity, although the final trigger may have been rainfall-related. One is left wondering how such a disaster can occur if, as seems to be the case, the hillside was showing multiple signs of distress. This is, of course, the second destructive landslide in the Philippines in a week.
Planet Team (2018). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. https://api.planet.com