Glacial Collapse Threatens Huaraz, Peru

Glacial Collapse Threatens Huaraz, Peru

A chunk of glacier was threatening to fall into an Andean lake and cause major flooding in a Peruvian city of 60,000. A fissure has appeared in the glacier that feeds the Lake Palcacocha near the city of Huaraz, 270 km north of Lima. If the piece breaks off, ensuing floods would take 15 minutes to reach the city. In 1941, the lake overflowed and caused massive destruction, killing 7,000 people. The city can be seen in the left-center part of the image. Lake Palcacocha is in the upper right corner of the image at the head of a valley, below the snow and glacier cap. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument, aboard NASA’s Terra satellite, is being tasked to obtain current images of the glacier to help monitor the situation.

Size of full-resolution image: 31.8 x 31.8 km (19.7 x 19.7 miles)
Location: 9.5 deg. South lat., 77.5 deg. West long.
Orientation: North at top
Image Data: ASTER bands 1 (green), 2 (red), and 3(near-infrared).
Original Data Resolution: 15 meter
Date Acquired: November 5, 2001

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 540x540
  • JPEG
  • 2115x2139
  • JPEG 2 MB

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  • Data Date:

    November 5, 2001
  • Visualization Date:

    April 4, 2003
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - ASTER
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration