10 November 2021
A large landslide at the Ministro Hales mine in Chile
Loyal reader Luis Donoso highlighted to me yesterday a tweet of a video that showed the aftermath of a very large landslide in a high wall mine:-
— W.E.U.H.V.H. (@INSOLENTES) November 9, 2021
The tweet speculated that this was at the Ministro Hales mine in Chile, which is operated by Coldelco. A second tweet suggested that the failure might have been “expected and controlled”.
Planet Labs imagery of the Ministro Hales mine suggests that a large landslide did indeed occur at this site sometime between 8 and 9 November. An image captured at 13:55 UTC on 8 November shows no new landslide (although a smaller previous event is visible):
An image captured at 14:42 UTC on 9 November clearly shows a large landslide:-
I have tried to include this as a slider below so that the before and after images can be easily compared:-
Based upon the imagery the landslide is about 700 m long and 450 m wide. It has encompassed the existing slide but is far larger. The mobility of the landslide does not seem to be exceptional. There are some large blocks visible in the head scarp region.
Large rock slope failures in high wall pits are not unusual, and this is not the largest event that I have described. Big pits typically use radar and other monitoring methods to detect potential failures, so it is credible to believe that this landslide was anticipated. It will be interesting to see better imagery of the aftermath of the landslide, and to learn about the transition to failure.
Planet Team (2021). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. https://www.planet.com/