Was it a glacial lake breach or an avalanche? Scientists to travel to Uttarakhand today to find out

Brand Name

Was it a glacial lake breach or an avalanche? Scientists to travel to Uttarakhand today to find out

Scientists delve deep into the actual cause of the Uttarakhand disaster; Find more

Monday, 8th February 2021

Glacier burst, an avalanche or a cloud burst, the outcome of a major climatic change, or rather “development” — scientists cannot specifically say what had actually triggered this sudden water surge in the vicinity to Chamoli in the state of Uttarakhand this Sunday morning. The disaster however generated fears of another incident similar to that of 2013’s in Uttarakhand.

By the evening time, the prospects of large-scale destruction and flooding had receded. And as a team of scientists got ready to move to the location of the disaster in the high altitude mounts lying north of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli to make sure of the root cause of the disaster, the scenario that was under key focus was what the glaciologists called the glacial lake outburst flood or GOLF. It is actually a kind of flooding resulting down the stream due to a glacial lake breach.

Retreating glaciers are common in the high Himalayas and usually, such glaciers lead to lake formation at the tips. Such lakes are referred to as pro-glacial lakes. Boulders and sediments mostly create the boundaries for these lakes. Any breach in the lake boundaries can cause a massive rush-down of waters into the nearby rivers and streams, picking up pace due to an increased amount of rocks, sediments, etc in the course and leading to a huge flood down the stream.


GLOF incidents are common in the high mountains. However, the ferocity of the impact of such incidents depends on the location of the pro-glacial lake and the size. Such glacial lake breaches can be triggered by multiple reasons- in this specific case, for example, two days back, an avalanche in the region, was reported.


With regard to the trigger behind GOLF and doubts related to its actual cause, Professor H C Nainwal (Glaciologist; Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in the Srinagar, Uttarakhand) said: “We don’t know of any big glacial lakes in this region. An avalanche is quite common, and there could have been one, but an avalanche on its own would not result in an increase in the flow of water in the river. The water has to come from a source, and as of now, we do not know what this source is.”


“We would have to visit the area to find out what exactly happened. Till then, we can only speculate,” he stated.


Glaciologist Argha Banerjee employed at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, stated that it is a possibility that there had been a glacial lake in that area which was unknown to the scientists.


The News Talkie Bureau



Indian Express

Top Stories
Download video from a Converthub online ..
Impact Feature: अमेरिकन ..
South Newsmakers of Week: Ram Charan & S..
What Makes Gandhis CWC a Team Amidst the..
Kerala Sees a Dip in Total Covid-19 Case..
Bangladesh “Just not Good Enough”, S..
Udanpirappe Movie Review: A family drama..
5 Superfood-Enriched Products for Health..
5 Superfoods Against Anxiety and Stress..
5 Small Lifestyle Changes You Can Make t..