20 November 2018
Borba, Portugal: a major quarry landslide
Yesterday (19th November 2018) a major landslide occurred at Borba in Evora, Portugal. This landslide is known to have killed at least two people, with a further four missing. Rescue operations are under way but are described as being exceptionally challenging. The prospects for those missing do not seem good given the nature of the landslide.
There is an excellent, detailed article in Portuguese on the Observador website, which includes the following image that gives an overview of the slide:-
This appears to be a complex event, with the main failure consisting of highly weathered rock and soil. Bot note the smaller slide on the right hand side of the image, consisting of both rock blocks and some weathered material. In the very right hand corner the remains of a backhoe can be seen, partially buried. This gives an indication of both the scale of the landslide and the force of the movement. The image below shows this in more detail:-
The landslide has destroyed a road, EN255, at the top of the slope that linked Borba to Vila Vicosa. The cause of the landslide is not clear. Presumably the presence of the backhoe indicates that works were ongoing in the quarry, but there is no indication as to whether this was a factor.
The site appears to be the one shown on Google Earth below:-
Note the flooded old quarry sites, but also the area of more recent and apparently active quarrying on the left side.
Many thanks to Antonio Salvador for highlighting the article in Observador to me.