INSTITUTO ARGENTINO DE NIVOLOGIA, GLACIOLOGIA Y CIENCIAS AMBIENTALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
congresos y reuniones científicas
Dendrochronology as a tool to validate avalanche numerical simulations in the Patagonian Andes
CASTELLER, A., CHRISTEN, M., VILLALBA, R., MARTÍNEZ, H., STÖCKLI, V., LEIVA, J.C., BARTELT, P.
Santiago de Chile, Chile
Conferencia; Cuarta Conferencia Internacional EGU Alexander von Humboldt; 2008
European Geosciences Union, Universidad de Chile
Snow avalanches cause severe property damage and loss of life in many regions around the world, especially where they remain poorly documented. One such region is the Southern Andes, where numerous settlements are threatened almost every winter by large snow avalanches. On September 2002, the largest tragedy in the history of Argentinean mountaineering took place at Cerro Ventana, Northern Patagonia, when nine persons were killed and seven others injured by a snow avalanche. In this study, we combine both numerical modeling and dendrochronological methods to reconstruct this event. Using information provided by local authorities and compiled in the field, the avalanche event was numerically simulated utilizing the avalanche dynamics programs AVAL-1D and RAMMS. The extent of the event was also reconstructed using dendrochronological methods. Model simulation results were compared with documentary and tree-ring evidences for the 2002 event. Our results show a good agreement between the simulated projection of the avalanche and its dendrochronologically-reconstructed extent. Moreover, the tree-ring records provided a chronology of other undocumented avalanche events that have occurred at the site. The main goals of this study are (1) to provide the first calibration of avalanche numerical models for the Patagonian Andes and (2) to highlight the potential of Nothofagus pumilio tree-ring records as a tool for reconstructing past snow-avalanche events in time and space.