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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Monitoring Glacial Lakes

Monitoring Glacial Lakes

Glacial Lake Imja, Nepal (credit: Wiki-commons)


Glacial lakes are good indicators of environmental change and research at Mount Everest is producing important new findings. The University of  Colorado's Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research (INSTAAR) has been monitoring the status of Nepal's Imja Lake for more than a decade. The research aims to better understand the threat to people and villages downstream if the unstable rock-damed lake were to collapse and produce a major flood.

According to INSTAAR, an aquatic (bathymetric) survey of Imja revealed that the lake holds nearly double the volume of water previously estimated. The team also conducted the first ground-penetrating radar survey of the area's terminal moraine revealing a previously unknown ice core. Risk-modeling and hazard management scenarios were developed to inform communities and provide mitigation efforts at the moraine to reduce the risk of collapse. A video illustrates the difficultly of conducting research at Himalayan elevations exceeding 16,000 feet (5,000 meters).

As the global climate continues to warm and weather patterns change in mountains everywhere, glacial studies are vital for threat predictions. WHB

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