Like watching a slow-motion disaster, a video that's going viral this week shows a dramatic landslide in eastern Russia gradually swallowing up a road and railway, knocking down trees and power lines, and dragging heavy equipment.
No one was hurt in the creeping landslide, or earthflow, coal industry representative Larissa Beresneva told local Russian media. The disaster happened on April 1 near Novokuznetsk, east of the Ural Mountains. (Learn more about the impacts of coal.)
The region is an active coal mining area and the massive slide seems to have occurred as a result of a collapse of the waste material, or overburden, from the Taldinskoye coal mine, Beresneva said. Russian authorities are investigating.
The relatively slow-moving slide was filmed by a bystander as it spilled over a road between Novokuznetsk and Bolshaya Talda, knocking over trees and a transmission line. (Learn about the causes of the Oso landslide in Washington.)
Daniel Doctor, a research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, previously told National Geographic that mining activities are known to trigger landslides around the world. In March 2013 a mining-related landslide in Tibet killed 83 people.
In February, another landslide near Novokuznetsk briefly blocked a road and was reportedly linked to mining activity, according to local media.
The ingredients for a landslide include a steep slope and, typically, water to lubricate the motion. Landslides are especially common in spring, when rains can be heavy and melting snow and ice provides additional water. (Learn about a landslide in Baltimore.)
Representatives from the Kemerovo Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office told local media they are investigating the incident to make sure mining companies are in compliance with the country’s laws.