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Glacial-lake outburst flood effects on Colonia River morphology, Chilean Patagonia

Glacial-lake outburst flood effects on Colonia River morphology, Chilean Patagonia

Bastianon, E., Bertoldi, W. and Dussaillant, A. (2012) Glacial-lake outburst flood effects on Colonia River morphology, Chilean Patagonia. In: River Flow 2012. CRC Press / Taylor & Francis, London, UK, pp. 573-579. ISBN 978-0-415-62129-8 (doi:

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Rio Colonia, a tributary of the Baker River, drains the Northern Patagonia Icefield, and is experiencing a new cycle of Glacial-Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs). The sudden draining of c. 200 hm3 from glacier-dammed Cachet 2 Lake, results in a 3-5 fold increase in discharge in Baker River, Chile's largest. Suspended sediment concentration also increases 8-fold and load 10 to 20-fold, totalling almost 5% of the annual load. Yet baseline studies of one of the dams of a US$7 billion hydropower project to flood the confluence doesn't consider GLOF dynamics. Moreover, Patagonia, the world largest complex of icefields and temperate glaciers, is experiencing warming trends and higher glacial-river flows. And the region is one of the largest unknowns in the global sediment flux to oceans. Here we compare present morphology and dynamics with the 1967-2007 outburst-free period and the previous outburst cycle that ended in 1968, with particular focus on the Colonia/Baker river confluence. Floodplain vegetation cover shows significant changes. Implications for a recently approved Baker dam are discussed.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Title of Proceedings: River Flow 2012
Additional Information: [1] Chapter 76. In: River Flow 2012. Proceedings of the International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, San Jose, Costa Rica, 5-7 September 2012. [2] Print ISBN: 978-0-415-62129-8; eBook ISBN: 978-1-4665-8417-4
Uncontrolled Keywords: glacial-lake outburst flood effects, Colonia River, morphology, Chile, Patagonia
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:29
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