Image of the Week - Patel Dam Tragedy in Kenya

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Detailed Description

High rainfall totals in Kenya have caused the collapse of the Patel Dam, leading to destruction and loss of life downstream.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (


Date Taken:

Length: 00:00:50

Location Taken: KE


East Africa has seen its largest
rainfall totals in 38 years in 2018.
May 9th, a private dam collapsed
and sent millions of gallons of
water rushing through a commercial
coffee farm and into homes downstream.
Landsat 8’s shortwave infrared and
near-infrared bands highlight the
water’s destructive path. The image
from May of 2017 show the dam
surrounded by green vegetation and
soil, which appears pink through
Landsat's infrared band. The
second image, captured 3 days
after the dam break, shows the
trail of mud left behind as it
snakes westward through
the countryside.
Landsat's satellite imagery can
be useful in monitoring flooding
and natural disasters
around the globe.