On April 25, the Nepal earthquake triggered an avalanche that completely buried the village of Langtang. These before-and-after images taken from space show the extent of the damage.
As reported in the Nepali Times, nearly all of the 200 inhabitants of the tiny village, which is situated along a popular hiking route near the base of Mount Langtang, are presumed dead. The Nepal Earthquake struck with a 7.8 magnitude, killing at least 7,000 people across the region.
The satellite image, captured five days after the disaster, was taken by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) aboard Landsat 8. It shows a massive debris field — a mixture of ice, snow, and debris — strewn across an area that once hosted the village.
The debris can also be seen atop the Langtang River, but it doesn’t appear to be blocking it; the water must be seeping through. This is good news because avalanches can cut off rivers, causing destructive downstream floods if and when the natural dam eventually fails.
Image credit: Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.