14 April 2009

Updated: Large landslide in Peru

Posted by Dave Petley

Various Peruvian news agencies, such as Adonde.com, are carrying reports of a large rainfall-triggered landslide on Saturday night / Sunday morning in Peru. This slide, which appears to have occurred in the town of Retamas in Parcoy District of Pataz Province, has reportedly buried a number of houses, killing 13 people. The following perspective Google Earth image of the location suggests that landslides may well be a substantial problem in this area (the location is -8.0197, -77.4783 if you want to take a look for yourself):

Helpfully, the following image of Retamas is available on Panaramio at this page:

I guess it is not hard to understand how a landslide can kill 13 people in this landscape. As an aside, given that this is an area of high seismic hazard, those ridge line dwellings look very poorly located.

Update: the Latin American Herald Tribune has an article with further information here. The aricle also has an image:

The slide appears to have occurred on a steep slope above the town. The article notes that the town is “is situated on the side of a mountain and whose residents mine gold and silver…The informal mining operations in the town have affected the stability of the soil in the area”, which explains the large scarps on the Google Earth image.