28 June 2021
Kara-Keche: the September 2020 landslide in Kyrgyzstan
On 14 September 2020 a large landslide occurred in the coal mining area of Kara-Keche in Kyrgyzstan. This landslide was captured on a remarkable video that was posted to Youtube:
There are some not very specific news reports online about this landslide, which is located at 41.722, 74.779. For example, for.kg has the following report:-
The landslide occurred in the evening of September 14 on the 37th km of the Dyikan-Kara-Keche road. The collapsed slope of the mountain blocked the gorge and the river. The slided mass of rocks and land is estimated at around 800,000-900,000 cbm. This road led to the biggest coal field in Kyrgyzstan – Kara-Keche field.
There is good Planet Labs imagery of the site of the landslide. This image was collected a few days later (NB north is at the bottom of these images):-
The large collapsed mass is clearly visible, covering the alignment of the road. Note the small lake that has built up. There is also a good image of the site a few days before the failure:-
This image, collected on 29 August 2020, shows that failure at the site was already developing, with a not insubstantial collapse being clearly evident at the toe of what became the main slide. The debris from this collapse appears to have reached the road.
It is not clear as to the role of mining in this collapse event. Mine workings are evident on the imagery in the upper left corner, but the slope itself does not appear to have been mined.
Planet Team (2021). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. https://www.planet.com/