Guatemala: Trees save lives like rebar in concrete, without rebar mountains unravel.

On January 4, 2009, a mountainside in northern Guatemala suddenly
collapsed, sending thousands of tons of rock and debris downhill and
burying a nearby road. The event occurred in the state of Alta
Verapaz, some 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of Guatemala’s capital
city. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA ‘s Earth Observing-1
(EO-1) satellite captured this true-color image of the area on January
9, 2009, five days after the landslide. In this image, the landslide
forms a wide, beige-colored gash on the lush green landscape. The
source of the landslide is toward the north, and near the source, the
landslide is roughly half a kilometer (one-third of a mile) wide.

The
debris field narrows farther downhill. The landslide crosses the road,
which appears as a meandering, east-west beige line. Clouds float
overhead, casting their shadows on the land surface below, but they do
not impede the satellite’s view of the disaster. As of January 5, the
landslide had killed more than 30 people, and left dozens more
missing, according to news reports. On January 6, authorities
suspended rescue efforts, citing unstable terrain and continued rock
falls that posed a risk to rescuers. An earlier rock fall the previous
month had killed at least two people, prompting officials to close the
local road. Roughly 140 people, however, were believed to have ignored
the closure warnings, left their vehicles, and walked past the road
barricades on foot on the day of the January 5 landslide.
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=36664

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Comments (1)

JillJanuary 24th, 2009 at 3:35 am

When will we ever learn to leave the trees on the mountainsides alone, Chapmans Peak in Cape Town…they stripped it of the alien trees, most likely Pines, a few years ago and now it is forever closed, they spent millions on gabions and whatever, but there is nothing to hold the side of the mountain together anymore.

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