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Earth Surf Process Landf. 2018 Jun 15;43(7):1373-1389. doi: 10.1002/esp.4318. Epub 2018 Jan 15.

How well can we simulate complex hydro-geomorphic process chains? The 2012 multi-lake outburst flood in the Santa Cruz Valley (Cordillera Blanca, Perú).

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Institute of Applied Geology University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Peter-Jordan-Straße 82 1190 Vienna Austria.
Geomorphological Systems and Risk Research, Department of Geography and Regional Research University of Vienna Universitätsstraße 7 1010 Vienna Austria.
Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Faculty of Science Charles University in Prague Albertov 6 128 43 Prague 2 Czech Republic.
Department of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Global Change Research Institute Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic Bělidla 986/4a 603 00 Brno Czech Republic.
Department of Soil Survey Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation Zabovreska 250, 156 27, Prague 5 - Zbraslav Czech Republic.
Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hidricos Autoridad Nacional del Agua Confraternidad Internacional 167, Huaráz Perú.
Department of Natural Hazards Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) Rennweg 1 6020 Innsbruck Austria.
Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics Group, Division of Physical Geography, Department of Geography University of Zürich Winterthurerstrasse 190 8057 Zürich Switzerland.
Department of Geophysics University of Bonn Meckenheimer Allee 176 53115 Bonn Germany.


Changing high-mountain environments are characterized by destabilizing ice, rock or debris slopes connected to evolving glacial lakes. Such configurations may lead to potentially devastating sequences of mass movements (process chains or cascades). Computer simulations are supposed to assist in anticipating the possible consequences of such phenomena in order to reduce the losses. The present study explores the potential of the novel computational tool r.avaflow for simulating complex process chains. r.avaflow employs an enhanced version of the Pudasaini (2012) general two-phase mass flow model, allowing consideration of the interactions between solid and fluid components of the flow. We back-calculate an event that occurred in 2012 when a landslide from a moraine slope triggered a multi-lake outburst flood in the Artizón and Santa Cruz valleys, Cordillera Blanca, Peru, involving four lakes and a substantial amount of entrained debris along the path. The documented and reconstructed flow patterns are reproduced in a largely satisfactory way in the sense of empirical adequacy. However, small variations in the uncertain parameters can fundamentally influence the behaviour of the process chain through threshold effects and positive feedbacks. Forward simulations of possible future cascading events will rely on more comprehensive case and parameter studies, but particularly on the development of appropriate strategies for decision-making based on uncertain simulation results. © 2017 The Authors. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


GLOF; high‐mountain lakes; process chain; r.avaflow; two‐phase mass flow model

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