18 March 2019
Zaoling, Shanxi: a deadly loess landslide on Friday
At 6:10 pm local time a slope collapsed in the township of Zaoling in Linfeng City, Shanxi Province in China. The latest update on Xinhua indicates that 20 people are likely to have been killed, of whom 10 have been found to date, and a further 16 were injured. JQKNews has this image of the site:-
JQKNews provides an unusual amount of information about this landslide, compared with the norm for large events in mainland China:-
“At about 18:10 on March 15, a landslide occurred on the north side of Zaoling Township Health Center in Xiangning County, Linfen City, Shanxi Province, causing the collapse of a family building (6 families), a credit cooperative family building (8 families) and a small bathing center. According to the latest news from the relevant government departments in Xiangning County, Linfen City, Shanxi Province, as of 15:00 on the 16th, 7 people were killed, 13 injured and 13 others were lost. On the 16th, a reporter from the Beijing News saw on the spot that hundreds of meters of warning lines were pulled up outside the street-front shops on the side of Zaoling Township Health Center. One building slid down half of the hillside in the landslide, while two other collapsed and scattered gullies and slopes were mostly buried in loess.
“Beijing News reporter noted that on the evening of the 15th, a crack appeared in the wall of a two-storey hospital building in Zaoling Township Health Hospital, and the hospital evacuated the patients. On the 16th, a reporter from the Beijing News saw at the scene that the cracked hospital building had collapsed.”
The report suggests that the residential property remained essentially intact but a bathhouse collapsed, leading to the loss of life. The variable state of the different buildings can be seen in this image:-
The reports suggest that this was a loess landslide, and the images appear to confirm this. It is interesting that it has occurred in apparently dry conditions. The landslide appears to have involved a large block that fortunately remained mostly intact and suffered little rotation, which fortunately meant that one of the large buildings remained upright. This appears to be the location of the landslide (35.807, 110.654):-