Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in Peru: should we expect more in the future?

Glaciers often have lakes in front of them, known as proglacial lakes. These are usually formed by water building up behind a dam of moraine and/or ice. Sometimes these dams collapse, leading to violent flooding. These events are known as Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs for short).

The Cordillera Blanca in Peru has many glacial lakes which threaten to break their dams, either by the water levels rising or by ice falling into the lake and displacing a large wave. In Peru dozens of dams have been strengthened and have had overflow channels cut into them to try to manage the risk. However this did not prevent catastrophic flooding occuring in April 2010 when a glacier partly collapsed into a lake near Carhuaz:

Footage here:

These phenomena are possible wherever there are mountain glaciers, although it is thought that those in warmer areas may be most at risk of melting. There is also a feeling that the rates of collapse could increase as the climate warms. See the link below for information about GLOFs in the Himalayas and the UN’s response to the problem:

What social problems are associated with mining developments in LEDCs?

Mining is often a useful way for LEDCs to gain finanancially from their natural resources. However, large global mining companies and governments in developing countries often do not enforce the same planning, social and environmental standards as they would in MEDCs. Here are a couple of examples of the allegations that have been made:

A Canadian mining firm operating in Guatemala:

A British firm operating in Peru:

Can the precious desert woodlands of Peru be preserved?

A plan to replant fragile woodlands in Peru is underway (2009). The plan is to rejuvenate areas of desert forest which have been decimated by human use for things such as firewood.

How is global warming threatening Peru’s glaciers and it’s water supply?

Watch this news report to discover how Peru’s water supply is under threat due to the melting of it’s Andean glaciers:

The 1962 landslide at Ranrahirca in Peru – what happened?

This archive material shows how devastating the Ranrahirca landslide was.