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

  • Anurak Pongpatimet / Shutterstock

    National Puppy Day Photos

    In the spirit of the day, I am obligated to share these adorable images of pups around the world.

  • Christian Palma / AP

    Photos of the Week: Underwater Restaurant, Holi Colors, Wonderland Eurasia

    Nowruz celebrations in Iraq, terrible flooding in Mozambique, springtime in China and England, mourning in New Zealand, flower fields in California, floodwaters across the midwestern U.S., and much more

  • Carl Court / Getty

    Photos: Mourning in New Zealand

    Images from the past few days in Christchurch, where residents continue to gather at makeshift memorials across the city

  • Nati Harnik / AP

    In Photos: Deadly Floods Sweep the Midwest

    Snowmelt and last week’s “bomb cyclone” have overwhelmed rivers in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and neighboring states, causing widespread flooding that has broken dozens of records and cost at least three lives.