Himalayas mountain glaciers in danger of exploding from earthquake risks

May 17, 2011NEW DELHI – Glacial lakes in the Himalayas could pose a major hazard to population centers if they are ruptured by earthquakes, scientists say. The true risk to settlements and infrastructure downstream in the Hindu-Kush-Himalayas region is difficult to assess. But the Himalayan region is dotted with glacial lakes and is in a seismically active zone. Experts say that, on the basis of past records, a large quake in the region is overdue. Many glacial lakes are said to be growing – some of them alarmingly – because of melting glaciers. Some are at risk of rupturing, which would flood areas downstream. There have been at least 35 glacial lake outburst events in Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and China during the last century, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep). “Such a disaster is very much possible, more so, when we are expecting a big earthquake in the region now,” says Sushil Kumar, a geophysicist with the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in India. “Given the location of the lakes, if the epicenter of the earthquake happens to be nearby them, they will certainly explode,” says Pradeep Mool, a glaciologist with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) that works on mountain issues in the region. “A great number of people are potentially in danger should the lakes classified as dangerous in the Hindu Kush Himalayas drain,” says another report by the UNEP. “In most cases, there would be little or no warning, with insufficient time for complete evacuation.” –BBC
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This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, High-risk potential hazard zone, Seismic tremors. Bookmark the permalink.

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