Haunting Photos of the Hungarian Town a Toxic Sludge Spill Painted Red

© Palíndromo Mészáros. 'The Line.'

The line runs through the deserted town, splitting trees and scarring buildings. At first glance, the photographs of it resemble those of New York City artist Eve Mosher's "High Water Line," which marked how much of the city could be flooded due to climate change. But these images don't warn against a future disaster; they are evidence of one that's already happened.

Spanish photographer Palíndromo Mészáros took the eerie images in his series "The Line" in western Hungary, where a retaining wall around a reservoir holding an aluminum company's toxic waste burst in October 2010, sending a million cubic meters of deadly sludge into surrounding towns and countryside.

© Palíndromo Mészáros. 'The Line.'

"The Line," which is currently being exhibited in the Festival des Promenades Photographiques in Vendôme, France (h/t designboom), documents trees, buildings, roads, and fields stained rust-red by the heavy-metal-laden waste spill, which reached two meters high.

© Palíndromo Mészáros. 'The Line.'

The environmental disaster killed nine people, forced the abandonment of numerous villages, and did tens of millions of dollars in damage. The head of the company whose containment reservoir burst was arrested for criminal negligence shortly thereafter; as of the disaster's one-year anniversary, 15 former or present employees of the aluminum firm were suspected of negligence in connection with the spill.

Mészáros describes his photographs as taken six months after the incident, "when ... silence takes the place of the headlines and just The Line is left."

Tags: Aluminum | Hungary | Photography | Pollution | Toxins | Waste