18 January 2013

An intriguing very large landslide dam and breach event from March 2012 in Peru

Posted by Dave Petley

There is a very intriguing video on Youtube, posted this week, which provides a series of photographs of a large landslide dam breach event in Peru.  The accompanying text says:

In March 2012 there was a massive landslide in Huaraz, on the famous and breath-taking Santa Cruz Treck [sic]

The video is here:



The location appears to be this valley, as shown in a Google Earth perspective view:


This looks to be a fairly spectacular breach event, as the screenshot from the video below shows, but it is very unclear as to what happened and when.:


The Google Earth image is ten years old, so is not much help.  A few trekking sites refer to the landslide – so for example this one says:

In March 2012, a combination of heavy rains and an avalanche created a massive landslide in the Santa Cruz valley, starting in the corrie between Nevado Artesonraju and Nevado Paria and sweeping down the valley. The hillsides were ripped away, the Rio Santa was diverted, and the once steep-sided Santa Cruz valley was filled with millions of tons of rock and earth. Amazingly, nobody was killed. While I was aware of the landslide and the new route the path now took, I was not aware that my planned camp site had also been washed away! Worse, the landslide was so strong that any flat, treeless areas were torn up, meaning finding a wild camping spot was also impossible. The only remaining spots were heavily forested and steeply sloping valley edges, and the new vertical cliffs meant getting to the river for drinking water was impossible. Not good.

Does anyone know any more about this event?