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Satellite Images Show Formation of Glacial Lake in Uttarakhand's Niti Valley, Scientists on Alert

Experts said formation of supraglacial lakes is an ongoing phenomenon but it could prove disastrous if there is no discharge of water at regular intervals.

Anupam Trivedi | News18

Updated:September 6, 2018, 7:45 PM IST
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Satellite Images Show Formation of Glacial Lake in Uttarakhand's Niti Valley, Scientists on Alert
The lake, which exists since 2001, has not shrunk over the years.
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Dehradun: Satellite images have shown the formation of a huge lake in the upper catchment area of Mandakini River in Uttarakhand’s Niti valley. The images indicate that the diameter of the lake is increasing and could pose a threat if there is no discharge of water, say experts.

Dr MPS Bisht, director of Uttarakhand Space Application Centre (USAC), told News18 that a supraglacial lake – a type of lake formation in glacier – was found on the juncture of the western Kamet and Raikanda glacier in the upper catchment area of Dholi Ganga and Mandakini River valley.

USAC has submitted a report on the perceived threat of the lake formation to government officials and suggested further examination by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG).

“While analysing the satellite data since 2001, we observed a huge supraglacial lake and its size is increasing. This is a situation that concerns us,” Bisht said.

The lake, which exists since 2001, has not shrunk over the years.

The expert at WIHG said formation of supraglacial lakes is an ongoing phenomenon but it could prove disastrous if there is no discharge of water at regular intervals.

“We have seen the example of the Chaurabari glacier, where the lake exploded after a big piece of glacier fell on it. The huge volume of water that was discharged created havoc in Kedarnath valley in 2013,” Senior scientist Dobhal said.

In fact, earlier this year, a similar supraglacial lake was spotted near Gaumukh glacier. After intervention of the high court, a team of experts then submitted a report stating that there was no immediate threat.​

(With inputs from Satender Barthwal)
| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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