Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in the Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru: Historic Events and Current Susceptibility

Jan Baťka (Lead / Corresponding author), Vít Vilímek, Eva Štefanová, Simon J. Cook, Adam Emmer

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to create a glacial lake inventory for the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru and to evaluate the susceptibility of lakes to the generation of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Using high-resolution satellite images, we undertook qualitative and quantitative analysis of lake type, characteristics and distribution, and placed our findings within the context of existing Peru-wide lake inventories. We also mapped and analyzed past GLOFs, revealing a total of 10 GLOFs and 4 ambiguous events, most of which have not been reported before. We found that past GLOFs usually occurred as a result of moraine dam breach during the proglacial stage of lake evolution. Further, we used our lake inventory to evaluate GLOF susceptibility of all lakes larger than 20,000 m2. Of 46 evaluated lakes, only two lakes (Lake Tsacra and Lake W014) are currently susceptible to generating a GLOF, which would most likely be through dam overtopping resulting from a flood originating in smaller lakes located upstream. The future perspectives of lake evolution and implications for GLOF hazard management are discussed in light of the post-Little Ice Age glacier ice loss as well as in the context of extensive related research undertaken in the nearby Cordillera Blanca.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2664
Number of pages17
JournalWater
Volume12
Issue number10
Early online date23 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Andes
  • Cordillera Huayhuash
  • GLOF susceptibility
  • GLOFs
  • Glacial lakes
  • Moraine-dammed lakes
  • Peru

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