Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 641–660 | Cite as

Geological and geotechnical characteristics of recent lahar deposits from El Misti volcano in the city area of Arequipa, South Peru

  • Carlos PallaresEmail author
  • Denis Fabre
  • Jean-Claude Thouret
  • Claude Bacconnet
  • Juan Antonio Charca-Chura
  • Kim Martelli
  • Aurélie Talon
  • Calixtro Yanqui-Murillo
Original paper


This study provides geotechnical characteristics of recent lahar deposits on which the city of Arequipa (South Peru) is built. Geological and sedimentological observations point out the existence of three types of lahar deposits in the Arequipa region: fine hyperconcentrated-flow deposits, coarse hyperconcentrated-flow deposits, and debris-flow deposits. The mineral components identified in the three types of lahars show that they are linked to the outcropping volcanic rocks around Arequipa city. Physical measurements (dry density, grain-size distribution, specific surface of the grains based on methylene blue tests) and mechanical tests (in situ dynamic cone penetration soundings, oedometric and Casagrande shear-box tests) were performed on the three main categories of soils. Our results highlight that hyperconcentrated-flow deposits are fine sand- and silt-rich deposits that lack clay particles. Their dry density is low (ρd = 1.25 g/cm3) and their friction angle is high (ϕ = 38°) which contribute to the peculiar dynamics of lahar flows and to their high erosive power. The low apparent density provides a better capacity for the debulking process, whereas the high friction angle takes part in the erosion process. Finally, the geotechnical properties observed here suggest that the high contents in silica pyroclastic particles and the lack of clay or fine particles control the rheological behavior of lahar deposits. We can also consider that the rheological behavior of lahars through time is complex and that existing older lahars can be remobilized by heavy rain or future stream flows and lahars.


Lahar Hyperconcentrated-flow deposits Debris-flow deposits El Misti volcano Geotechnical properties Dynamic penetrometer 



We thank the Project Laharisk (2010–2013) funded by the French National Agency for Research (ANR—RiskNat) and all our Peruvian colleagues in Arequipa for their help, especially during the work field. The first author wishes also to thank especially V. Pallares and X. Quidelleur.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Pallares
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Denis Fabre
    • 1
  • Jean-Claude Thouret
    • 4
  • Claude Bacconnet
    • 5
  • Juan Antonio Charca-Chura
    • 6
  • Kim Martelli
    • 4
  • Aurélie Talon
    • 5
  • Calixtro Yanqui-Murillo
    • 6
  1. 1.Chaire de GéotechniqueConservatoire National des Arts et MétiersParis Cedex 03France
  2. 2.Laboratoire GEOPS, UMR 8148Université de Paris-SudOrsayFrance
  3. 3.CNRSOrsayFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans CNRS UMR 6524 et IRD UR163PRES Clermont, Université Blaise PascalClermont-Ferrand CedexFrance
  5. 5.Institut Pascal CNRS UMR 6602, Polytech ClermontPRES Clermont, Université Blaise PascalAubièreFrance
  6. 6.Facultad de Ingeniería CivilUniversidad Nacional de San AgustínArequipaPeru

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