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TitleNatural dams in the Mendoza River basin, Mendoza Province, Argentina
AuthorFauqué, L E; Baumann, V; Rosas, M; González, M A; Coppolecchia, M; Di Tommaso, I; Wilson, C G J; Hermanns, R L
SourceProceedings of the International Conference on Landslide Risk Management, Vancouver; 2005, 6 pages
Alt SeriesGeological Survey of Canada, Contribution Series 2004472
MeetingInternational Conference on Landslide Risk Management; Vancouver, British Columbia; CA; May 31-June 4, 2005
File formatpdf
AreaMendoza River Basin; Mendoza Province; Los Àrboles; Punta de Vacas; Puenta del Inca; Uspallata; Rio del Plomo; Argentina
Lat/Long WENS -70.0000 -69.2500 -32.3333 -33.2500
Subjectshydrogeology; sedimentology; landslides; slope failures; slope stability; moraines; basins; glacial deposits; hydroelectric power; drainage systems; hydrography
Illustrationssatellite images; location maps; geological sketch maps; tables
ProgramGlobal Opportunities Program
ProgramMultinational Andean Project: Geoscience for Andean Communities (MAP:GAC Project)
AbstractFifteen paleodams are associated either with landslides, moraine- or neo-glacial barriers in the Mendoza River basin. The failure of such natural dams caused several catastrophic floods during the past two centuries and likely also during prehistoric time. Historical data reveal that the largest flood of Mendoza River in the 20th century, with a peak discharge of 2060 m3/s, was caused by the collapse of a glacial barrier in the Plomo tributary, in 1934. These outburst floods present a major hazard to the hydropower plant and reservoir at Potrerillos in the lower portion of the Mendoza river valley. A hazard assessment is required for the entire Mendoza drainage system. We used Aster images to estimate the impounded volume of these paleolakes, based on the elevation of the dam and related lake deposits. This allows an estimate of peak paleo discharge using the empirically derived formulas for the relationship between impounded volume versus peak discharge for catastrophic failures of glacially dammed lakes (Clague & Mathews 1973) and of landslide dammed lakes (Costa & Schuster 1988).