Alcantara Peru

Integrating EO information for cascading landslide and flood hazard monitoring and early warning, Cordillera Blanca, Peru


Landslides pose significant hazards and risks to the densely populated mountain region of the Cordillera Blanca in Peru, with a series of catastrophic events in the past. In the Alcantara project, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), value-added information was generated based on satellite-borne remote sensing data. High-end differential SAR Interferometry (DInSAR) products were produced by Gamma Remote Sensing, a leading Swiss Remote Sensing Company, was combined with optical satellite data, aerial and terrestrial surveys, structure-from-motion applications, as well as different types of slope stability models. This information was combined to investigate landslide processes at selected study sites in the Cordillera Blanca.


A multi-source landslide monitoring system has been established at the Safuna Alta glacial lake, one of the study sites, and terrestrial slope stability survey strategies were designed, together with local experts from the Peruvian National Water Authority (ANA) and international experts. InSAR analyses in combination with field investigations and historical aerial photographs was further used to inform numerical models for simulations of glacier lake outburst processes. 

A guide to integrate Earth Observation contributions to landslide EWS

Another major outcome of this project is a white paper on the potential of Earth Observation (EO) contributions to landslide EWS. It addresses a prominent gap in scientific literature, which has focused so far only on monitoring applications of EO. Considering the potential of EWSs as efficient non-structural disaster risk mitigation measures and their high priority on the international policy level, integrating EO in such systems is a promising innovation with a high potential to offer a valuable contribution for operational implementation. 

Landslide, hazards, EO, InSAR, slope stability, EWS, Peru
2016 – 2017
Gamma Remote Sensing, Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics of the Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Bueechi, E., Klimes, J., Frey, H., Huggel, C., Strozzi, T. & Cochachin, A. 2019. Regional-scale landslide susceptibility modelling in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru – a comparison of different approaches. Landslides 16 : 395–407. DOI: 10.5194/nhess-13-559-2013
  • Klimes, J., Novotný, J., Novotná, I., Urries, B.J., Vilimek, V., Emmer, A., Strozzi, T., Kusák, M., Rapre, A.C., Hartvich, F. & Frey, H. 2016. Landslides in moraines as triggers of glacial lake outburst floods: example from PalcacochaLake (Cordillera Blanca, Peru). Landslides 13 : 1461–1477. DOI: 10.1007/s10346-016-0724-4
  • Strozzi, T., Klimeš, J., Frey, H., Caduff, R., Huggel, C., Wegmüller, U. & Cochachin Rapre, A. 2018. Satellite SAR interferometry for the improved assessment of the state of activity of landslides: A case study from the Cordilleras of Peru. Remote Sensing of Environment 217 : 111–125. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.08.014
  • Huggel, C., Frey, H., Klimeš, J., Strozzi, T., Caduff, R. & Cochachin, A. 2017. Contribution of Earth Observation to landslide early warning. White paper, University of Zurich, Gamma Remote Sensing, National Water Authority of Peru.
  • Klimeš, J; Novotný, J; Cochacin Rapre, A; Balek, J; Zahradníček, P; Strozzi, T; Sana, H; Frey, H; René, M; Štěpánek, P; Meitner, J; Junghardt, J (2021). Paraglacial rock slope stability under changing environmental conditions, Safuna Lakes, Cordillera Blanca Peru. Frontiers in Earth Science, (9):607277.
European Space Agency (ESA)