Photos of the Red Sludge That Smothered a Town in Brazil

On November 5, two dams retaining tons of iron-mining waste near the Brazilian town of Bento Rodrigues burst, releasing a massive flood of thick, red toxic mud that flattened buildings and trees, smothered the small town, killed at least four, and left another 28 still missing. The dams are operated by the mining company Samarco, which is jointly owned by two larger mining companies: Vale, from Brazil and BHP Billiton, from Australia. Rescue workers are still searching for survivors as both Samarco and Brazilian authorities have issued statements saying the cause and full extent of the disaster remain undetermined.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Drew Angerer / Getty

    Photos of the Week 6/25-7/1

    A West Point cadet's freshly shaved head, Ramadan prayers, Chinese children floating home from school, and much more.

  • Kevin Frayer / Getty

    The World's Largest Mosquito Factory

    Inside a laboratory at the forefront of the fight against Zika

  • Elijah Nouvelage / Reuters

    A Weekend of Pride

    Two weeks after the Orlando shooting, the LGBTQ communities in San Francisco and New York held their annual parades.

  • Ognen Teofilovski / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 6/18-6/24

    A glass slide 1,000 feet above the ground in Los Angeles, an emu is helped away from a California wildfire, a selfie in the 125 degrees Fahrenheit heat of Palm Springs, a Hello Kitty face grown on a melon in Japan, and much more.

Join the Discussion