Military strikes from air not rule out to move giant landslide — which some claim was triggered by a meteorite — blocking Bureya River causing flood threat to 4 villages.
The equipment and special explosives is being flown to the Bureya River — which is dammed by the recent giant rockfall — in Khabarovsk region. Picture: Today KHV
Explosives are to be detonated on a vast scale within days to remove a vast mound that threatens flooding to villages in Khabarovsk and Amur regions, say reports.
Reports say use of the armed forces was authorised by the Supreme Commander of the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin.
There were claims aerial strikes could even be used.
A video shows some 175 tonnes of military and engineering equipment being flown in to the region seven time zones east of Moscow.
One giant An-124 Ruslan and four Il-76s are deployed in the operation.
The equipment and special explosives is being flown to the Bureya River — which is dammed by the recent giant rockfall — in Khabarovsk region.
Helicopters and motor transport are to be used for onward transport in what is becoming a huge military exercise.
‘We climbed these slopes today. If they blow up the formed dam, then as a result of the explosion, the remaining part of the hill may collapse into the water. There is a high probability that this will happen.’ Pictures: Today KHV
There are warnings today that the use of explosives to clear a major blockage in the Bureya is ‘likely’ to cause a further massive landslide.
This in turn could create a river ‘tsunami’ .
Scientists claimed that in December — when the rockfall crashed into the river — a 50 metre high wave swept along the river in the remote territory. If so there were no reports at the time, although changes in water level were noticed.
A new rockfall would also create a giant wave — but lower.
Scientist Alexey Makhinov, at the scene, said: ’Under existing conditions, there is no danger of a new landslide.
‘We climbed these slopes today. If they blow up the formed dam, then as a result of the explosion, the remaining part of the hill may collapse into the water.
‘There is a high probability that this will happen.’
He warned: ‘The wave height was at least 50 metres (after the December landslide).
A massive rockfall on or around 11 December moved so much debris that it would fill 13,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Incredibly, the falling 34 million cubic metres of debris left a gash in a mountain that could swallow up all the water used if every American showered at the same time.
As a result a huge mound — some 160 metres high at its peak — blocked the river.
Villages upstream in Khabarovsk and Amur regions are threatened with flooding.
Flooding could also disrupt the major Baikal-Amur Mainline rail link unless the army can quickly unblock the river.
But downstream Bureyskaya hydro power reservoir is not being filled because of the river blockage.
A local poll in eastern Russian found 27 per cent said the ‘blitzkrieg’ was unleashed by a meteorite strike, while 33 per cent believed a UFO attack was the cause.
Alexey Maslov, head of Verkhnebureinsky district where the incident happened, said: “We are trying to find the explanation for this incident.
“I insist that it was a meteorite.”
The equipment and special explosives is being flown to the Bureya River — which is dammed by the recent giant rockfall — in Khabarovsk region
Eleven carriages with explosives are delivered to the rockfall site. Pictures: Today KHV
Hunters who first reached the scene — alerted by a sudden and inexplicable change in the flow of the river — reported ‘hot rocks’ on which they could warm their hands.
Their initial guess was that the mayhem was the work of a meteorite strike — even though there were no reports at the time of a Chelyabinsk-type space rock hitting the Russian Far East in December.
A top British scientist — and expert on landslides — insisted the collapse was not a meteorite or unexplained space incident.
Professor Dave Petley, of the University of Sheffield, said the mountain slope above the Bureya had a ‘pre-existing tension crack or depression’.
‘We can say that this is certainly a rock slope failure, and that it is highly unlikely to be associated with a meteor impact event,’ he said.
Originally Published in Siberian Times