200 tons of TNT blasts largest landslide dam in recent years, Russia

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Following three weeks of preparation under -30 °C (-22 °F) and strong ice winds, Russian military finally blew up a huge natural dam in the remote Russian region of Khabarovsk. The dam was created on the Bureya River mid-December 2018 after a ‘large and unusual’ landslide. This is the largest landslide event in Russia in recent years. There are speculations it was caused by a meteorite impact but scientists concluded the cause was a rockslope failure.

Some 34 million m3 (1 200 698 668 feet3) of rocks suddenly fell into the river sometime around December 11, 2018, completely blocking the river and forcing authorities to issue evacuation orders for downstream villages. 

Some 520 military personnel built 80 km (50 miles) of roads to access the site and used more than 200 tons of TNT and 12 km (7.4 miles) of Bickford fuse to blast a hole in the dam.

The new channel they created is 200 m (650 feet) long, 35 m (115 feet) wide and 20 m (65 feet) deep.

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 was observed rising a few centimeters each day.

Hunters who first reached the site said they were alerted by a sudden and inexplicable change in the flow of the river. They reported ‘hot rocks’ on which they could warm their hands, sparking the meteor impact theory.

Featured image credit: The Siberian Times

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