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First look at Planet imagery of the Brumadinho (Brazil) dam collapse

Published 2019-01-27 #geo #planet #brumadinho #damcollapse

This weekend news hit of a tailings dam collapse at a mine owned by Vale in Brumadinho, Brazil. From the initial reports and photos coming out of the area the damage looked immense.

Because news reports were sparse on geospatial details that show the extent of the disaster, I started looking around for some data and put together this before/after visualization based on imagery by Planet.

The extent of the affected area looks to cover around 240 hectares (, and the flood has destroyed large swaths of infrastructure in its path, including buildings, bridges, roads, and a smaller reservoir nestled in the valley downstream. Here are the before and after images, each white square is an area of 100 by 100 meters:

You can download the shapefile for the damage extent here (7Kb). For access to the satellite imagery it is probably best to contact the people at Planet directly or sign up for their services.

There is also a presentation from Vale online with more details (photos, statistics, risk classifications) on this and other tailings dams in the surrounding area.


28 Jan: Updated the images with some more details, added additional dams on the maps.

28 Jan: Editing for less text, fix typo in image header, added presentation link.

Notes and comments

Have a look at this article by Dave Petley on The Landslide Blog for more information and analysis: For official communications from Vale see their press release page.

The image of Dam 1 is from this presentation on SlideShare. The other images are by John O'Leary and by Antonio Lacerda via this article in The Guardian.

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