Satellite images from Hidroituango hydropower dam crisis Colombia 2018

Last days we have been following the Hidroituango Hydropower dam crisis in Colombia. We published posts about the crisis time frame (link to post) and the analysis from the technical committee (link to post). In this post we will not discuss about the event. Instead, we present satellite images to visualize the problem, like we did with the Oroville dam (Link to post).

Image 1 shows a comparison of the site in March 26 (before the event) and in May 17 (during the crisis). We want to point to 3 details:

  • The first noticeable detail is the water behind the dam (on the reservoir). On XXX the reservoir is empty. On the other hand, by May 17th the water level has risen so much that the reservoir is almost full. It is possible to see that the water level is very close to the spillways and the top of the dam.
  • Other important detail is the visualization of the landslides. As mentioned in a previous post, this crisis began because of landslides that blocked the tunnels. The image from May 17th clearly shows 2 landslides on the right margin of the river.
  • The third important detail is the water flow downstream the dam. The image from May 17th shows water flowing downstream the dam. This is an important detail, because the spillways were not working yet. Thus, the water flow downstream is a sign of the seepage described by the technical committee. 

Image 1. Hidroituango dam satellite image March 26 (Source: Planet Labs)


Image 2. Hidroituango dam satellite image May 17 (Source: Planet Labs)

The other image (Image 3) pair shows 2 images in an animated GIF (images from May the 02nd and May the 07th). This pair of images has less detail, but it covers a much bigger area. This second comparison shows the backwater effect of the dam. Several tributaries were flooded by the backwater effects.

Image 3. Animated GIF of images from Hidroituango (Source: GIPHY)

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