Russia approves use of explosives to move huge amounts of debris blocking Bureya River

Russia approves use of explosives to move huge amounts of debris blocking Bureya River

Russian president Vladimir Putin has approved the use of 11 carriages of special explosives to move a huge amount of debris left after a massive landslide created huge natural dam at the Bureya River in remote Khabarovsk region of southern Russia. The slide took place sometime around December 11, 2018.

This is the largest landslide event in Russia in recent years. It deposited some 34 million m3 (1 200 698 668 ft3) of rocks and created up to 160 m (524 feet) high natural dam on the Bureya River.

Russian scientists say a 50 m (164 feet) high river tsunami swept along the river after the landslide. Since this is a remote region, there were no reports of it at the time.

The event took place at 50.559, 131.472, some 75 km (46 miles) from the village of Chekunds, where river level is rising a few centimeters each day.

Evacuation of downstream villages was ordered several days ago, and officials have received permission to use massive amounts of explosives or even a military airstrike to clear the blockage.

There are warnings that the use of explosives will likely cause another massive landslide, and in turn create another river tsunami, although smaller than the initial one.

Flooding could disrupt the major Baikal-Amur Mainline rail link unless the army can quickly unblock the river, the Siberian Times reported. In addition, downstream Bureyskaya hydropower reservoir is not being filled as there is no water flowing in.

Featured image credit: Anna Liesowska

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