, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 107–115 | Cite as

Influence of glacial retreat on natural hazards of the Palcacocha Lake area, Peru

  • Vít Vilímek
  • Marco Luyo Zapata
  • Jan Klimeš
  • Zdeněk Patzelt
  • Nelson Santillán
Original Articles


In this article we describe natural hazards associated with outburst floods of Palcacocha Lake and landslide events on the slopes of its moraine dam, in Cojup Valley, Cordillera Blanca (Peru). These events occurred in the last 70 years and some of them resulted in disasters, which strongly affected the city of Huarás. Field investigations and reference expression hydrodynamic tests as well as archive satellite images and aerial pictures were used to describe the evolution of hazards connected with Palcacocha Lake. Expression hydrodynamic tests proved a high permeability of sandy gravels glacial sediments, which form the present-day lake dam. Seepage through the natural dam forming small ponds below the overflow spillways occurs. A retreat of the glacial tongue causing an increase of the lake volume and unloading of the slope toe areas are the most important recent processes that influence the potential hazards affecting the Cojup valley. The research has proved that the climate warming and ongoing deglaciation play a very significant role in the change of natural hazards conditions in high mountains.


Glacial lake Outburst floods Moraine dam Cordillera Blanca Peru 



We would like to express our thanks to INRENA Huarás, Peru for scientific and personal support. Our work was also supported by the research grant No. MSM 00216 20831 and improved after kind comments of Mr. Reginald L. Hermanns


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vít Vilímek
    • 1
  • Marco Luyo Zapata
    • 2
  • Jan Klimeš
    • 3
  • Zdeněk Patzelt
    • 4
  • Nelson Santillán
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physical Geography and GeoecologyFaculty of Science, Charles UniversityPrague 2Czech Republic
  2. 2.Unidad de Glaciologia y Recursos HidricosINRENAHuarásPeru
  3. 3.Institute of Rock Structure and MechanicsAcademy of SciencesPrague 8Czech Republic
  4. 4.National Park AdministrationKrásná LípaCzech Republic

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