Red Sludge From Brazilian Dam Collapse Reaches the Atlantic

Earlier this month, 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, and left at least six dead. The wave of toxic sludge—tested and found to contain high levels of mercury and arsenic, according to a BBC report—then moved downstream, into the Rio Doce (Doce River), and spent two weeks making its way several hundred miles downstream, finally reaching the Atlantic Ocean. According to Reuters: “Scientists say the sediment, which may contain chemicals used by the mine to reduce iron ore impurities, could alter the course of streams as they harden, reduce oxygen levels in the water and diminish the fertility of riverbanks and farmland where floodwater passed.”
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Grenadier Guards, Floating Island, Wrapped Arch

    Flooding in southern France, cliff diving in Ireland, civilian astronauts’ launch from Florida, an elephant bath in Pakistan, scenes from the Met Gala in New York City, and much more

  • Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters

    Scenes From Greenland

    Snapshots from the largest island in the world

  • Dr. Andrew Mark Posselt, California

    Photographing the Microscopic: Winners of Nikon Small World 2021

    Some of the winning and honored images from the 2021 Small World Photomicrography Competition

  • Zhe Ji / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Depleted Lake, Wayward Cow, Alligator Reef

    A “Tribute in Light” in New York City, lingering power outages in Louisiana, rice harvesting in Japan, final scenes from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, a Neanderthal in the Netherlands, and much more