24 January 2016

The greatest ever debris flow video? Aconcagua in Argentina

Posted by dr-dave

The greatest ever debris flow video? Aconcagua

This one, on the flanks of Aconcagua in Argentina, is quite spectacular. It starts slowly, but hang in there!

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The original text accompanying the video is in Spanish, a tidied up Google Translation version is as follows:

“Avalanche between Horcones (park entrance) and Confluence (first base camp of the Aconcagua field). Julian Insarralde [who posted the video], Nico Aguero and Naco Choulet were working for INOUT ADVENTURE. During a trek lasting three days.  We are going to customers to avoid them being splashed with mud as it is an area of avalanches at that time of year. The warning was a sound similar to an airplane sound, which is why Julian Insarralde is looking back and is able to warn that an avalanche is coming. That’s why we ran and we did not abandon people so that we were in the safe zone.  They are things that can happen when we work in real natural environments”.

This is the moment that the debris flow arrives:-

Aconcagua debris flow

Aconcagua debris flow via Julian Insarralde and Youtube

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This is a classic debris flow – the front end is almost entirely dry (note the dust in the image above) and mostly large boulders.  The tail of the debris flow has more water and finer material.  Note that the debris flow goes through a series of surges.

The weather appears to be dry and sunny.  The very small debris flow that the hikers are crossing at the start is also quite intriguing.  Even this appears to be debris rich.  I wonder if this is the tail of an earlier surge?  The walls of the gully appear to be wet?

Aconcagua debris flow

Aconcagua debris flow via Julian Julian Insarralde and Youtube

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Its a pretty good job that the trekkers heard the debris flow coming, and respect to everyone for getting out of the way, despite a couple of slips and trips.