Watt, Sebastian F.L., Pyle, David M., Naranjo, José A. and Mather, Tamsin A.
Edifice destruction on strike-slip fault zones: Landslide and tsunami hazard at Yate volcano, Chile
Bulletin of Volcanology, 71, (5), . (doi:10.1007/s00445-008-0242-x).
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The edifice of Yate volcano, a dissected stratocone in the Andean Southern Volcanic Zone, has experienced multiple summit collapses throughout postglacial time restricted to sectors NE and SW of the summit. The largest such historic event occurred on 19th February 1965 when ?6.1–10?×?106 m3 of rock and ice detached from 2,000-m elevation to the SW of the summit and transformed into a debris flow. In the upper part of the flow path, velocities are estimated to have reached 40 m s?1. After travelling 7,500 m and descending 1,490 m, the flow entered an intermontane lake, Lago Cabrera. A wavemaker of estimated volume 9?±?3?×?106 m3 generated a tsunami with an estimated amplitude of 25 m and a run-up of ?60 m at the west end of the lake where a settlement disappeared with the loss of 27 lives. The landslide followed 15 days of unusually heavy summer rain, which may have caused failure by increasing pore water pressure in rock mechanically weathered through glacial action. The preferential collapse directions at Yate result from the volcano’s construction on the dextral strike-slip Liquiñe-Ofqui fault zone. Movement on the fault during the lifetime of the volcano is thought to have generated internal instabilities in the observed failure orientations, at ?10° to the fault zone in the Riedel shear direction. This mechanically weakened rock may have led to preferentially orientated glacial valleys, generating a feedback mechanism with collapse followed by rapid glacial erosion, accelerating the rate of incision into the edifice through repeated landslides. Debris flows with magnitudes similar to the 1965 event are likely to recur at Yate, with repeat times of the order of 102 years. With a warming climate, increased glacial meltwater due to snowline retreat and increasing rain, at the expense of snow, may accelerate rates of edifice collapse, with implications for landslide hazard and risk at glaciated volcanoes, in particular those in strike-slip tectonic settings where orientated structural instabilities may exist.
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