Glacial retreat may form three new lakes in Parkachik Glacier Ladakh


New Delhi: The Parkachik Glacier in Ladakh is likely to have three lakes of different dimensions due to subglacial over-deepening — a characteristic of basins and valleys eroded by  glaciers, as per new study.

Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and Government have carried out a study that describes the morphological and dynamic changes of Parkachik Glacier, Suru River Valley, Ladakh Himalaya, India.

The findings were published in the journal ‘Annals of Glaciology’.

The new study showed that due to subglacial over-deepening in Parkachik Glacierin Ladakh, a characteristic of basins and valleys eroded that may form three lakes of different dimensions.

The team of Scientists lead by Dr. Manish Mehta used medium-resolutionsatellite images and field surveys between 2015 and 2021.

The team of Scientists lead by Dr. Manish Mehta used medium-resolution satellite images; CORONA KH-4, Landsat, and Sentinel-2A from 1971–2021, and field surveys between 2015 and 2021.

In addition, they used the laminar flow-based Himalayan Glacier Thickness Mapper and provided results for recent margin fluctuations, surface ice velocity, and ice thickness, and identified glacier-bed over-deepening.

The remote sensing data showed that the glacier retreated with an average rate of around 2 ma−1 between 1971 and 1999 whereas, between 1999 and 2021, the glacier retreated at an average rate of around 12 ma−1.

Furthermore, the surface ice velocity estimated using COSI-Corr on the Landsat data Surface was found to be around 45 ma−1 in the lower ablation zone in 1999–2000 and 32 ma−1 in 2020–2021, thus reducing by 28%.

In addition, the maximum thickness of the glacier is estimated to be around 441m in the accumulation zone, while for the glacier tongue, it is around 44 m. The simulation results suggest that if the glacier continues to retreat at a similar rate, three lakes of different dimensions may form due to subglacial over-deepening.


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