Karmadon Mud Slide

October 17, 2002

Provided by: Martin Ruzek, USRA; Landsat.org
Summary authors & editors: Martin Ruzek

On the evening of September 20, 2002, a massive arm of the Kolka Glacier on the flanks of the 5048 meter Mt. Kazbek in the Caucasus Range disintegrateKarmadond and came crashing down Genaldon Gorge, destroying much of the resort village of Karmadon 24 km distant. As many as 150 people are feared to have been killed by the fast moving wall of mud and ice that buried much of the valley. Satellite photos at this scale do little to convey the local magnitude of the disaster, but do reveal some interesting features. The center image was acqired hours before the disaster, and shows fresh snow in the mountains (pale blue) which may have contributed to the glacier's collapse. A careful comparison of the October 2002 vs 2001 images gives some indication of the size of glacial ice that broke away, estimated to be 2-3 million cubic meters. The dark path of ice and debris down Genaldon Gorge can be seen in the October 6 image. These Landsat 7 browse images depict a region about 60 km wide and is less than 100 km to the southwest of Grozny, Chechnya. North is toward the top. Higher resolution satellite imagery can be found in the links below.

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