Stephen G. Evans, Ph.D. (Professor, Engineering Geology and GeoHazards)
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo
- The geology of the Cordillera Blanca.
- Neotectonics in the Huaraz region, including the Cordillera Blanca Fault.
- The engineering geology of glacial lakes formed by recent glacier melting.
- Landslide hazards in the Cordillera Blanca, including the devastating 1962 and 1970 Huascaran events.
- The geo-archaeology of the Chavin de Huantar World Heritage Site.
- Geological engineering aspects of the Antamina Mine, one of the largest copper-zinc mines in the world.
DAY 1, Monday April 26
The field party left Toronto at 5:10 pm on Air Canada flight AC 80, arriving in Lima around midnight.
DAY 2, Tuesday April 27
DAY 3, Wednesday April 28
DAY 4, Thursday April 29
DAY 5, Friday April 30
DAY 6, Saturday May 1
DAY 7, Sunday May 2
The group visited the Chavin de Huantar archeological site, focusing on its geohazards. From Huaraz, they travelled east and traversed the Cordillera Blanca mountain range to Chavin de Huantar (3140 m a.s.l.), via the 4516 m a.s.l. Kawish Tunnel. Chavin de Huantar (Figure 8) was constructed by the Chavin culture in ~ 900 B.C. According to geo.archaeologists, water supply for the site was facilitated by the presence of a rockslide.dammed lake in valley upstream of the site.
The site has been subject to debris flows from upstream glacial lakes. The most recent event occurred in January 1945 when an ice avalanche fell into Ayhuinyraju Lake causing an outburst. The debris buried part of the archaeological site and impacted the town of Chavin resulting in 500 deaths.
DAY 8, Monday May 3
The group visited Laguna Paron, near Caraz, with Ing. C. Portacarrero (National Water Authority). This lake is a major water source in the Rio Santa watershed. Extensive civil engineering works were completed in 1985 to control the lake level for hazard reduction purposes and to regulate the outflow of the lake for hydroelectric power generation purposes at Canon del Pato. These works include the excavation of a 3.3 km long tunnel in granodiorite, which the group had the opportunity to examine. The tunnel resulted in a maximum reduction of 41 m in the lake level (Figures 9 and 10).
DAY 9, Tuesday May 4
Day 9 was the long.anticipated visit to the Antamina Mine (Figure 11). The group departed very early in morning from Huaraz to arrive at the Casablanca control point. This was followed by a 118 km drive up the Antamina access road, a modern two lane paved highway, arriving at the mine at about 10.30 am.
DAY 10, Wednesday, May 5
Day 10 started with a transect along the Antamina Mine access road. Landslide investigation sites were visited with Antamina and Golder Associates personnel. Throughout the day the group had lengthy discussions on landslide hazard and risk along the 118 km access road, a key element of the mining company Antamina’s risk management strategy. The road is the lifeline to the mine with dense traffic carrying fuel, food, and spare parts to the mine as well as the frequent bus transport of personnel to and from the mine site (Figure 14). The group also visited the famous dinosaur footprints exposed in a rock cut along the road (Figure 15).
DAY 11, Thursday May 6
On day 11, the group checked out of the La Joya Hotel and mostly spent a free day in Huaraz, but also included a meeting with Ing. C. Portacarrero at the National Water Authority offices. The group boarded the Cruz del Sur bus from Huaraz at 10:00 pm and travelled to Lima.
DAY 12, Friday May 7
DAY 13, Saturday May 8
Concluding comments and acknowledgements
The 2010 EARTH 490 field trip to Peru afforded a unique opportunity to students to see first hand, active tectonics, glacial geomorphology, glacial and landslide hazards as well as geological engineering aspects of hazard mitigation, hydropower development and massive open pit mining at high altitude in a spectacular mountain environment. The Antamina mine is a state-of-the-art mining operation and our group was very impressed by the way in which the company is addressing challenging technical and environmental issues.
The EARTH 490 class and instructors are grateful to John Pottie, P.Eng. and David Gilbert, P.Eng. of Antamina for their fantastic technical support and for facilitating a memorable visit to the Antamina mine. The group is also indebted to Ing. Cesar Portocarrero (National Water Authority) for leading a spectacular visit to Laguna Paron and the drainage tunnel constructed in 1985.
Finally, all those involved in the 2010 EARTH 490 field trip to Peru would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the J.P. Bickell Foundation, the Prospector's & Developer's Association of Canada, the Dean of Engineering, the Dean of Science, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Without this support this field trip to Peru would not have been possible.