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Bhutan Glaciers - Glacial Lakes
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Lakes in Lunana with high GLOF (glacial lake outburst flood) risks
NASA Earth Observatory
Bhutan's glacial lakes
The micro-organism, present mostly in Himalayan glaciers, develops black patches on the glaciers and affects the pace of melting in glaciers. The team noticed the black patches on the Wochey Lake and northern part of the Thorthormi glacierin Lunana.

They found that, among the existing glacier lakes in Lunana , Thorthormi glacier seemed to be a potential danger for glacial lake outburst flood or GLOF. "Many ponds and supra-glacial lakes have already formed on the glacier and would grow every year and might become a big glacial lake in the next 10 years," the report says.

With a glacial lake at the tongue o fThorthormi glacier, the potential of an outburst is higher because the 1994 flood had made the left lateral moraine unstable. There are also chances of theThorthorm i( Thorthormi) lake pouring into the Raphstreng Lake, which is 2 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, if the moraine connecting the two lakes becomes unstable, the report added.

If the latter happens, it is predicted that Raphstreng will easily burst, causing a huge GLOF along the Pho Chhu river.

Glacial lake
However, the director of geology department said that a GLOF was not predicted in the next five years unless some natural disasters like earthquakes disturb the foundations. "Retreating ice is swelling the Thorthormi glacier but we are confident that it will not burst for the next five years," he said. "Beyond that, we cannot say anything since there are no data."

A preliminary study report on the Chubda Tsho source of Chamkhar Chhu in Bumthang stated that the glacial lake did not pose an urgent danger of GLOF.

However, a detailed inspection of the threshold by glaciologists was recommended.

In October 2002 a team from the department of geology and mines has left for Punakha to "hazel zone" the Punakha valley. This was a preparatory measure in case of flash floods like that of October 1994. The team, with the help of the dzongkhag, will demarcate land and restrict construction, while a flood-warning unit has already been set up in Lunana.


more information
VIDEO Bhutan - Nepal
Flight over the Himalayas
UNDP-Film "Revealed: The Himalayan Meltdown"
Nepal's retreating glaciers
East-West Highway: From Thimphu to Mongar
Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang Videos
Bhutan: Lunana's glaciers
Bhutan's glaciers are retreating
About Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang
River rafting Pho Chhu Valley (Photos)
Punakha Dzong
Raphstreng Tsho in Lunana
Bhutan's Glaciers Pictures
Punakha: Traditional Bridges - Bazams
East-West Highway
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