Sentinel-2A captures a giant ice avalanche in Tibet

The Nature News website reported yesterday on a massive ice avalanche that happened in Rutog, Tibet, on 17 July 2016. This ice avalanche killed 9 people and may be one the largest ever observed. The ice and rock mixture spread over 6 km from the collapse point up to the Aru Co lake shoreline.

Sentinel-2A image of the Rutog ice avalanche acquired on 21-Jul-2016 (4 days after the event). Click on the image to see at full resolution (1 pixel = 10m).

Nothing escapes from Sentinels! I used the Sentinel-2A image above to digitalize the avalanche extent and found that the avalanche covered a total area of 8.8 km², close to the value that was indicated in several news websites (10 km²).


There are not many cloud-free images in this area at this time of the year, however the avalanche was still visible on 11-Aug-2016 between the clouds in a Landsat-8 image.

Landsat-8 natural color composite image (11-Aug-2016)

A closer view of the avalanche site is available here:


[edit] The second episode about this avalanche is here.

Posted under: In English, Sentinel-2

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