Landslide monitoring in Peru

Geoscientists Without Borders
Landslide Preparedness Projects

This project focuses on Maca, the main active landslide of this valley, threatening a village of 900 inhabitants, the agriculture and the tourism of the area

The Colca valley is one of the most touristic valleys of South Peru, with major landslides threatening the security of the village inhabitants, the development of tourism, the irrigation of agricultural fields, and pre-Inca heritages. Those landslides are subject to rapid acceleration due either to the high seismicity of the area or to periods of intense rainfalls.

The goals of the project are:

  1. to install a permanent monitoring system to track the evolution of the landslide
  2. to identify scenarios for the landslide activation and evaluate possible public response with local community leaders, and to educate the local people to care about natural hazards
  3. to train local geophysicists to emerging technologies and methods on the monitoring of the landslide parameters, so that they can operate the monitoring methodology and technology on their own after 2016
  4. in the mid term, after completing a first year of observation, to develop an alert system by synthesizing GPS, hydrological and seismic real-time observations

Status Complete

Statement of Work

The goal of the project is to install a permanent monitoring and early warning system to track the evolution of the Maca landslide, located in a high seismicity region (next to Arequipa, Peru). The landslide threatens a village of 900 inhabitants, a very popular and frequented road (500,000 vehicles/year), and pre-Inca terraces.

In 2015-2016, the goal will be to equip the landslide with up-to-date geophysical instruments, including GPS, seismometers, piezometers and a meteorological station. By synthesizing first observations, we will develop an alert system for the landslide activity. The equipment bought within the project will be setup permanently and operated by local scientists for continuous long-term monitoring and warning. We would like to bring to the local populations a better understanding of the risks of landslide reactivation thanks to conferences at schools and in the city hall of Maca. The local people will be involved in the equipment installation, daily maintenance and guarding. Our local partners will be trained to maintain the geophysical observation tools (seismology, GPS, piezometers, wi-fi network). We will also provide higher education to governmental geophysicists in charge of monitoring this area, so that at the end of the project they will be able to conduct monitoring and early warning without the need of our immediate assistance. 3 academic thesis (Peruvian candidates) will start on the data of the project, which will permit a total transfer of knowledge toward our local partners,

We will perform an evaluation that includes seismic and landslide hazards assessment to help regional authorities to consider the re-evaluation of the local urbanization. During this period, we will also identify other active landslides in the region that might threaten populations and infrastructures. This detection will be based on satellite imagery procedures. On the long term, the methodology that we will transfer to local scientific partners will certainly be re-used on other landslides in Peru. A documentary video on this experiment will be edited and will be used by our local partners as an awareness tool for other communities in Peru affected by landslides.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Eric LaRose – ISTerre-Grenoble France
GeoHazards International

Team members

ISTerre – Pascal Lacroix, Swann Zerathe, Marc Wathelet, Denis Jongmans, Bertrand Guillier
INGEMMET – Lionel Fidel, Edu Taipe, Luisa Macedo
CONDIDA – Yahaida Loaiza
Mayor of Maca and project team
School Director of Maca and selected students


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