Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ice avalanche produces a “tsunami” in Peru

On Tuesday 13 April Rory McCarroll, Guardian Latin America correspondant, wrote an article entitled "Peruvian glacier split triggers deadly tsunami". A mass of ice 500m by 200m split of the Hualcan Glacier and dropped into a lake, "triggering a tsunami that breached 23m high levees". 50 homes and an important water processing plant were destroyed and at least one person was killed. Settlements in the valley were evacuated because there was risk of further ice avalanches. The town of Carhuaz, population 25,000 (Reynolds, 1992) and nearby settlements were affected. Carhuaz has been threatened by glacial flooding hazards in the past (Reynolds, 1998). Further outburst floods and related are likely as the glaciers in this region retreat under the influence of global warming.

Reynolds J.M. 1992. The identification and mitigation of glacier-related hazards: examples from the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. In McCall G.J.H., Laming D.J.C. & Scott S.C. (eds) Geohazards. Chapman & Hall, London 143-157.
Reynolds J.M., Dolecki A. & Portocarrero C. 1998. Construction of a drainage tunnel as part of a glacial lake hazard mitigation at Hualcan, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. In Maund J.G. & Eddleston M. (eds) Geohazards and Engineering Geology. Geological Society, London, Engineering geology Special Publications, 15, 41-48

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