The Kurbu-Tash and Ayu landslides in Kyrgyzstan

In March this year we had a look at landslides in Kyrgyzstan and noted just how frequent landslides there appear to be.

Just a month after that post, two more major landslides occurred to the southeast of the region we looked at before. On April 24th a very large landslide engulfed the village of Kurbu-Tash, burying 11 houses, a school, a kindergarten, a mosque and a medical facility. Luckily, nobody appears to have been harmed in that event. Then on April 29th, a much smaller but more deadly landslide, killed 24 people in the village of Ayu. For more on both landslides, including ground level photos and video, see The Landslide Blog (1 2 3).

You can see before and after images using Landsat imagery on NASA’s Earth Observatory website. However, the latest Landsat image was not available on Amazon Web Services at the time of writing, so we instead got a Sentinel-2 image of the location. Here is a ‘before and after’ of the Kurbu-Tash event.

before
after

Left: CNES / Airbus image from Google Earth. Right: Sentinel-2 image dated May 19th, 2017.

The landslide flowed south to north, burying buildings near the end of its run. The total length of the landslide is around 5 km. Also note the small lake that has formed uphill from the landslide. This is known as a ‘landslide dam’, a topic we covered last year. Such dams can be potentially catastrophic if enough water builds up, overflows and suddenly erodes the dam.

The Ayu landslide is much harder to spot. In fact, we can see at least five other landslides nearby, some of which were larger.

This report states that prior to the Ayu landslide, the Osh region has had at least 25 landslides so far this year, killing six people.

For the locations above, including image overlays using portions of the Sentinel-2 image and the locations of the many landslides we found, download this KML file

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.