Pablo Iribarren

Office: CO 523


Bachelor Degree in Geography (Universidad de Chile 2008)

PhD thesis

Title: Glacial lake outburst floods in the extratropical Andes: hazard, dynamics and geomorphological impacts

Supervisors: Andrew Mackintosh, Kevin Norton

Project description

Glacier and permafrost related hazards such as glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) and rock-ice avalanches cause socioeconomic damages in order of 108 EURO annually worldwide, and the frequency and magnitude of these processes might increase if the atmospheric temperature rises.  Glaciers in the extratropical Andes (~17°-55° S) cover more than 23.000 km² in a wide range of geographical and climatological conditions and are showing a generalized down-wasting trend. Glacier retreat has destabilized bedrock and drift-covered slopes promoting mass movement, and has generated numerous glacial lakes. This situation together with the presence of ice-capped volcanoes, many of them active, steep hanging-glaciers and surge-type glaciers, makes the Chilean and Argentinean Andes a region prone to glacier- and permafrost-related hazards. In the extratropical Andes nearly two hundred deaths were linked to these processes during the twentieth century. However, data about these events (e.g. conditioning and triggering factors and geomorphological impacts) is limited. This work aims to fill some of these gaps with special focus on GLOFs, which are one of the most frequent and damaging process.

The research will be developed through a multi-scale approach based mainly on remote sensing methods and Geographic Information Systems tools (GIS). First, a review of hazardous events from glacier and permafrost areas in the extratropical Andes will be conducted to unravel the frequency, magnitude, conditioning and triggering factors of past events. Then, the GLOF susceptibility of lakes in a selected basin will be assessed based on remote sensing techniques and GIS modelling. Afterwards, GLOF geomorphological impacts will be studied through the reconstruction of GLOFs by hydraulic modelling, geomorphological surveys and eyewitness’s accounts. The results of this research will enhance our knowledge of glacier and permafrost hazards in the extratropical Andes and will improve our understanding of GLOF hazards, dynamics and their geomorphological significance. This information will aid in the development of hazard mitigation measures in this region.

I am currently working on the assessment of the GLOF susceptibility of moraine dammed lakes in the Baker Basin and in the reconstruction of Río Seco de Los Tronquitos and Río Engaño GLOFs. If you want to know more about these works, share data, or be part of the ongoing research, do not hesitate in contact me.


Peer reviewed

Iribarren Anacona, P., Mackintosh, A., & Norton, K. (2015). Reconstruction of a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) in the Engaño Valley, Chilean Patagonia: Lessons for GLOF risk management. Science of The Total Environment, 527-527, 1-11.

Iribarren Anacona, P., Norton, K.P., & Mackintosh, A. (2014). Moraine-dammed lake failures in Patagonia and assessment of outburst susceptibility in the Baker Basin. Natural Hazards Earth System Sciences, 14, 3243-3259.

Iribarren Anacona, P., Mackintosh, A., & Norton, K.P (2014). Hazardous processes and events from glacier and permafrost areas: lessons from the Chilean and Argentinean Andes. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 40(1), 2-21.

Iribarren Anacona, P. (2010). Análisis del movimiento en masa de la Quebrada Blanca; Implicancias en la dinámica geomorfológica y criogénica. Cuenca superior del Río Elqui. Revista Investigaciones Geográficas, 40, 3-18.

Other publications and conferences

Bodin, X., Krysiecki., & Iribarren Anacona, P. (2012). Recent collapse of rock glaciers. Two study cases in the Alps and in the Andes. Interpraevent 2012.

Iribarren Anacona P., & Ruiz, L. (2011). Amenazas geomorfológicas asociadas con variaciones recientes de glaciares en los Andes de Chile y Argentina. Eventos históricos y perspectivas futuras. In Actas del XVIII Congreso Geológico Argentino (pp.1280–1281).

Iribarren Anacona P., & Bodin, X. (2010). Geomorphic consequences of two large glacier and rock glacier destabilizations in the Central and Northern Chilean Andes. Geophysical Research Abstracts,12, 7162–7165.

Aniya, M., Barcaza, G., Kamusoko, C., & Iribarren Anacona, P. (2009). Detection of glacier surface conditions and recent glacier variations in Patagonia using ALOS data. In Proceedings of ALOS PI Symposium, Island of Rhodes, Greece, 3-7 November 2008 (ESA SP-664, January 2009) CD-ROM.

Iribarren Anacona, P. (2008). Antecedentes de Geomorfología paraglacial. Andes semiáridos de Chile. Anales de la Sociedad Chilena de Ciencias Geográficas, 2008, 76-81.

Iribarren Anacona, P. (2008). Glaciares rocosos en el sistema geoecológico de alta montaña.  Análisis de caso en Los Andes de Chile Semiárido. X Jornadas Cuyanas de Geografía, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina, (pp.17), CD-ROM.

Iribarren Anacona, P. (2007). El medio geográfico, soporte natural para el desarrollo histórico. Cuenca media del río Elqui. Historia de Vicuña, Memoria, cultura y sociedad en el corazón del valle de Elqui, 1, 17-28.