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Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina

versión On-line ISSN 1851-8249


D'ODORICO, Patricio E.; PEREZ, Daniel J.; SEQUEIRA, Nicolás  y  FAUQUE, Luis. Landslide dam and outburst of the Río Santa Cruz, Main Andes, (31°40'S), province of San Juan. Rev. Asoc. Geol. Argent. [online]. 2009, vol.65, n.4, pp. 713-724. ISSN 1851-8249.

In the region of the Main Andes of San Juan, exists a high concentration of landslide deposits that can originate natural dams. The outburst of these dams generated by slide is a common process in this morphology. The analyses of satellite imagery and air photos of previous years allow reconstructing the characteristics and the origin of the slides that formed those natural dams. In this region of the Main Andes, the rapid uplift and erosion of the mountain chain has created abrupt slopes and an internal structure in the materials that determined an increase of the susceptibility to the slope collapse without triggers as the seismic activity or precipitations. The objectives of the present work are (1) to analyze the causes that formed the natural dam and produced the landslide dam and development of the Los Erizos lagoon in the middle course of the Santa Cruz river; (2) the outburst of the dam and their consequent flood; and (3) the morphologic characteristic of the study region. The temporary comparison between air photos with satellite imageries indicates that the natural dam was generated by slip of the western hillside of the Santa Cruz mountain range, located below the Cerro Estrella. However, the constant water flow to the lagoon, has increased its water level until reaching the maximum benchmark of the dam, produced the beginning of the lake drainage and weakening of the dam causing the outburst and its consequent flood. Based on satellite imagery, a temporary analysis of the lagoon is presented, indicating that monitoring is an important tool to alert in the whole San Juan river basin for possible natural dikes, preventing hazards to the populations down water. The alluvium of November 12 of 2005, discharged 32.100.000 m3 in 67 minutes and traveled 254 km in less than 12 hours.

Palabras clave : Main Andes; Landslide dam; Flood; Outburst; Cordillera Frontal; San Juan.

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