Georacial Disorder beneath Enchanted Lakes

Mark Carey

in In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195396065
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199775682 | DOI:
 						Georacial Disorder beneath Enchanted Lakes

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This chapter examines disaster responses and environmental perceptions of climate change and glacier retreat through an analysis of the 1941 Huaraz and 1945 Chavín de Huantar glacial lake outburst floods, which killed 5,000 and 500 people, respectively. For the people most affected, the urban Huaraz population, the disaster not only leveled physical structures but also toppled symbols of social standing, wealth, status, and even the culturally constructed racial categories that supposedly distinguished Indians, mestizos, and creoles (whites). Essentially, the floods erased supposed boundaries between highland and lowland, countryside and city, and nature and civilization. Conceptualizing Cordillera Blanca glacial lake disasters as the combination of societal and environmental forces illuminates the culture of climate change and reveals why residents later rejected hazard zoning. It also explains why Huaraz urban inhabitants turned to state science and technology to protect them from glacier retreat.

Keywords: Chavín de Huantar; Cordillera Blanca; culture of climate change; disaster responses; environmental perceptions; glacial lake outburst floods; hazard zoning; Huaraz; state science and technology

Chapter.  8322 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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