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19 December 2010

The outcome of a study of the Kolontar Tailings Dam failure

Regular readers will remember that I covered in a number of posts the tailings dam failure at Kolontar in Hungary, which flooded a town with bauxite waste with fatal consequences.  At the time we tried to “crowd source” an interpretation of what had happened, and as a result we speculated that the failure might have resulted from a foundation failure of the dam caused by high pore pressures, which led …

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30 October 2010

Reports suggest that the Kolontar dam collapse was associated with foundation failure

The Kolontar dam failure in early October 2010, which caused the red sludge disaster that received considerable attention, is reported to have been associated with a foundation failure, as suggested on this blog immediately after the event.

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11 October 2010

Images of the top surface of the Ajkai Timfoldgyar / Kolontar tailings dam

The index.hu website has a set of images taken of the top of the dam at Ajkai Timfoldgyar / Kolontar.  These are helpful in confirming observations from the aerial imagery featured yesterday that a section of the tailings dam has moved.  This images shows the pipe running across the top surface of the dam: As expected, the image shows that the main block shown has moved to the right and …

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10 October 2010

Further insights into the failure mode of the Ajkai Timfoldgyar (Kolontar) tailings dam

Thanks once again to Peter Diehl, the causes of failure of the Ajkai Timfoldgyar / Kolontar tailings dam are becoming clearer, and appear to support initial suspicions.  There is an excellent gallery of images here, of which this is the most interesting in this context: This is the damaged (cracked) section of the north side of the dam.  Zooming into the cracks on the top of the dam shows this: …

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9 October 2010

New aerial images of the Ajkai Timfoldgyar tailings dam site

Thanks again for Peter Diehl for his help with this one.  Greenpeace have collected and released some oblique aerial images of the site at Ajkai Timfoldgyar (Kolontar) that are revealing.  They are available on the Der Standard website.  The best image of the dam itself is this one: Note the crack in the dam surface on the left side of the image. It is also worth noting that the dam …

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7 October 2010

The Ajkai Timfoldgyar tailings dam disaster: Lessons from the Los Frailes tailings dam failure in Spain

The clean up at the Ajkai Timfoldgyar tailings debris flow accident site continues today, with continued concern about the potential for pollution of the downstream rivers from the environmentally-damaging debris.  I do not wish to speculate on the cause of this accident, but will note that foundation failure is a well-established failure mode for tailings dams – see for example the excellent wise-uranium.org site, which has a section on typical …

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6 October 2010

Interesting images of the Ajkai Timfoldgyar tailings dam accident in Hungary

As predicted, a number of interesting images are now available of the site of the breach that caused the Ajkai Timfoldgyar tailings debris flow in Hungary on Monday.  Thanks again to Peter Diehl for his tireless work in seeking out and highlighting the best images.  The best slide show, surely destined to become an invaluable teaching aid, is available at this link: http://galeria.index.hu/belfold/2010/10/05/legifelvetelek_az_atszakadt_gatrol/ In terms of the failure that caused …

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5 October 2010

The Hungarian tailings dam accident – images of the failure of the impounding embankment

Thanks to both  Peter Diehl, PeterOi and an anonymous commenter for pointing out the locations of images of the embankment that failed to release the landslide of toxic sludge in Hungary.  The best one is probably this image, from Der Standard in Austria: The failure appears to have occurred in the corner of the embankment, as shown in this Google Earth image: I cannot quite work out the internal structure …

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Tailings landslide in Hungary and a dam crisis in Vietnam

News today, barely covered in the international mainstream media so far, of a new tailings-related landslide in Hungary yesterday.  The only English report that I have seen so far is on the Chinese CriEnglish website, which reports that 700,000 cubic metres of bauxite ore formed a flow that struck three villages in Veszprem county.  These villages appear to be Devecser, Somlóvásárhely and Kolontar.  The Google Earth imagery of this area shows the origin if the accident …

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