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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.

The Conservation Alliance

Monitoring Glacial Lakes

Monitoring Glacial Lakes

Glacial Lake Imja in Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal  (credit: Wikipedia)

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

According to INSTAAR, the first aquatic (bathymetric) survey of the glacial lake has revealed it holds nearly twice the volume of water that had been 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 local communities and provide mitigation efforts at the moraine to reduce the risk of collapse. A video illustrates the difficultly of conducting environmental research at Himalayan elevations exceeding 16,000 feet (5,000 meters).

As climates warm and weather patterns change across mountains worldwide, glacial studies such as these will becoming increasingly critical.


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