Inventory of Glaciers and Glacial Lakes in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh Himalaya, India

Inventory of Glaciers and Glacial Lakes and the Identification of Potential Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) Affected by Global Warming in the Mountains of Himalayan Region Original PDF link
CSK Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research
global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training
United Nations Environment Programme/Regional Resource Centre for Asia – Pacific

Rajiv M Bhagat (Ph.D.), Vaibhav Kalia & Chitra Sood (Ph.D.)
Pradeep Kumar M001 8: Samjwal Ratna Bajracharya
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University (CSKHPAU)
Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN)
global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training (START)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
February 2004

The support of Dr. Tej Partap Vice Chancellor, CSK Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, Palampur, needs special thanks in initiating this project. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to him for hiskind support and encouragement throughout the project period. Thanks are also due to Dr. R. C. Thakur, Director of Research for his valuable input and advice while implementing the project. We would also like to thank Dr. T.S. Verma, Head, Department of Soil Science
CSKHPAU, Palampur to provide working space in the initial phase of the project. We are also thankful to
Dr. Virender Kumar, Scientist (Agricultural Economics) and Dr. Sharda Singh, Associate Professor
(Mathematics), Centre for Geo-informatics Research and Training CSKHPAU, Palampurjor their help
during the project work.
We would like to thank Dr. J. Gabriel Campbell, Director General of1CIMODf0r overall coordination and
Mr. Basanta Shrestha, Head ofMountain Environment and Natural Resources ’ Information System
(MENRIS), ICIMOD, for overall supervision and timely supports during the implementation of the project.
Other ICIMOD stafl members who have assisted in the study include Ms. Monica Moktan, Ms. Mandakini
Bhatta, Mr. Lokap Rajbhandari, Mr. Sushil Pradhan, Mr. Birendra Bajracharya, Mr. Sushil Pandey, Mr.
Saisab Pradhan, Mr. Rajan Bajracharya, Mr. Anirudra Man Shrestha, Mr. Govinda Joshi, Mr Sudip
Pradhan, and Mr. Walter Immerzeel. We would like to thank them allfor their valuable contributions
Thanks are due to Mr. Sombo T Yamamura, Director, Mr. Yukihiro Imanari, Executive Manager, Mr. Martin
Rice, Programme Manager, Communications and Development, Dr. Linda Anne Stevenson, Programme
Manager, Mr. Tomoya Motoda, Technical Assistant, Mr. Toshiaki Mitani, Administrative Manager, Ms.
Kanako Taguchi, Administrative Assistant, of Asia -Pacific Networkjor Global Change Research (APN)_for
their continuous support in the implementation ofthe project.
We would like to express appreciation and sincere thanks to Mr. Surendra Shrestha, Regional Director and
Representative for United Nations Environment Programme Asia and the Pacific – UNEP and Director of
UNEP/RRC-AP, Mr. Mylvakanam Iyngararasan, Ms. May Ann Mamicpic and Ms. Kitiya Gajesani of
UNEP/RRC-AP for their strong support for the project.
Last but not least we would like to express our sincere thanks to Prof Roland Fuchs, Director and Dr. Yna
Calimon, Programme Associate of International Global Change SystemforAnalysis, Research, and Training
(START) Secretariat for their timely and strong support and advice while implementing the project.
Development Team
R. M. Bhagat (Ph.D.), Vaibhav kalia, Chitra Sood (Ph.D), Pradeep Kumar M001, Samjwal Ratna Bajracharya,
Kiran Shakya and Gauri Shankar Dangol

The monsoonal climate of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas has two distinct seasons — Wet and dry Dry
season needs ofwater are not less than the wet season. The glaciers o_fthe Hindu Kash-
Himalayas (HKH) are nature ’s renewable storehouse of flesh water fi”om which hundreds of
millions ofpeople downstream benefit/ust when it is most needed — in the dry hot season before
the monsoon. While the total number ofglaciers in the region is still unknown, this study has for
thefirst time documented that there are 2554 glaciers in Himachal Pradesh. Covering an area of
4160.5 Square kilometers, these high frozen reservoirs release their water at the top ofthe
watersheds. These perennial glaciers plus the
seasonal snow cover serve as the perennial sources of rivers that wind their way through
grazing, agricultural and forest and are used as renewable sources of irrigation, drinking water,
energt and industry,
However, these glaciers are retreating in the face of accelerated global warming. They are
particularly vulnerable to climate change and the resultant long-term loss of natural_fresh water
storage will have as yet uncalcula ted effects on communities downstream. More immediately, as
glaciers retreat, glacial lakes form behind some of the now exposed terminal moraines. Rapid
accumulation of water in glacial lakesform behind some of the now exposed terminal moraines.
Rapid accumulation of water in glacial lakes particularly in those adjacent to receding glaciers,
can lead to a sudden breaching ofthe unstable dam behind which they have formed. The resultant
discharges of huge amounts of water and debris — a glacial lake outburst flood or GLOF— often
have catastrophic effects downstream.
Many glacial lakes are known to have_f0rmed in the HKH in the last half century and a number of
GLOFs have been reported in the region, including in Himachal Pradesh, in the last few decades,
these GLOFs have resulted in many deaths, as well as the destruction of houses, bridges, fields,
forests and roads. The lakes at risk, however, are situated in remote and inaccessible areas. When
they burst, the local communities may have been devastated, while those in far away cities were
largely unaware of the event.
In Himachal Pradesh, the catastrophic flood events in the Satluj basin in the last fiaw years raised
awareness of the problem considerably, Despite some studies of individual cases, there is still no
detailed inventory ofglaciers and glacial lakes, ofGLOF events or ofpotential GLOF sites, in
Himachal Pradesh — let alone of their impact on downstream populations and investments. This
publication, along with similar publications made_for the studies conducted in Nepal and Bhutan,
are designed to fulfill this pressing need. The research upon which it is based started in 1999,
when the United Nations Environment Programme Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the
Pacific (UNEP/RRC-AP) provided ICIMOD with the opportunity of using its expertise in the area
of geographic information system (GIS) to create a comprehensive inventory and GIS database of
glaciers and glacial lakes in Nepal and Bhutan using available maps, satellite images, aerial
phomgraphs, reports and field data on difi’erent scales, It built on ICIMOD ’s experience and
longstanding concern with collecting and distributing material on the means to identify and
mitigate mountain disasters and safeguard the livelihoods of vulnerable mountain people and
their downstream neighbors,
One of the major objectives of the study was to identifit areas where GLOFs events had occurred
and lakes that could pose a potential threat of a GLOF in the near future. Out of a surprisingly
large total ofI56 lakes, the researchers found 16 lakes that are potentially dangerous in
Himachal Pradesh These results thus provide the basis for development of a monitoring and
early warning system and for the planning and prioritization of disaster mitigation efforts that
could save many lives and properties situated downstream, as well as guide infrastructure

planning. In addition, it is anticipated that this study will provide useful information for many of
those concerned with water resources and land use planning.
As a presentation of the results of the APN-START/UNEP supported study, this report also
includes a description ofthe methods used to identify glaciers, glacial lakes and glacial lakes
outburst floods that may pose a threat; as well as an inventory (and maps) of the glaciers and
glacial lakes in Himachal Pradesh. It includes a summary of the results of various glacial lakes,
and a brief review of the causes and effects ofknown GLOF events in Himachal Pradesh. The
database and analysis are the first to cover the whole of the state o/“Himachal Pradesh on a large
We are thus confident that this comprehensive report and digital database will be of service to
scientists, planners and decision makers in many areas. Through their informed actions, we hope
it will contribute to improving the lives ofthose living in the mountains and help safeguardfuture
investments for the benefit ofmany people in the region.
We would like to congratulate the project team members for successful
completion of this report in short time. We are also pleased that this project has
enabled us to strengthen our collaborative work as well as the capacity building
and cooperation between ICIMOD, CSKHPAU, APN, START, UNEP.
J. Gabriel Campbell (Ph.D) Tej Partap (Ph.D)
Director General Vice Chancellor
ICIMOD CSKHPAU, Palampur-India

Asian Development Bank
ARC digitized raster graphics
Aerial Photograph
Asia and the Pacific
Asia-Pacific Network
Automatic Picture Transmission
billion cubic metre
Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University
Canadian International Development Agency
Chief Scientific Officer
Digital Elevation Model
Department of Hydrology and Meteorology
Defense Mapping Agency
Electrowatt Engineering Service Ltd
Electromagnetic Spectrum
Earth Resources Technology Satellite
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Enhanced Thematic Mapper
False Color Composite
Federal Flood Commission
Flood Forecasting Division
Flood Forecasting System
Flood Protection Sector Project
Flood Warning Centre
Gross Domestic Product
Geographic Information System
Glacial Lake
Glacial Lake Outburst Flood
High Frequency
Hindu Kush — Himalaya
High Resolution Picture Transmission
High Resolution Visible (SPOT)
Hydrological Observing System
Intemational Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
Integrated Land and Water lnfonnation Systems
First infrared
Indian Remote Sensing Satellite series

mg L -1
Indian Remote Sensing Satellite series 1D
Intemational Union for Conservation of Natural Resources
Land Resources Satellite
Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology
Linear Imaging and Self Scanning Sensor (IRS)
metre above sea level
Mountain Environment and Natural Re sources’ Information
Multispectral Electronic Self Scanning Radiometer
Multi Spectral Scanner
Not Available
Nepal Electricity Authority
Near infrared
National Imagery and Mapping Agency
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Natural Resources Division
Panchromatic Mode Sensor System (SPOT)
Rapid Environmental Change Assessment
Red Green Blue
Regional Resources Centre
Remote Sensing
Systeme Probatoire d’ Observation de la Terre/ Satellite Pour
l’Observation de la Terre
global change SysTem for Analysis, Research, and Training
Short Wave Infra Red (JERS)
Thematic Mapper (LANDSAT)
Total Dissolved Substance
Thermal infrared
Tactical Pilotage Chart
Temporary Technical Secretary
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
Visible and Near Infra Red instrument
Water Apportionment Accord

Water and Power Development Authority
Water and Energy Commission Secretariat
World Glacier Inventory
World Geographic/Global System
World Glacier Monitoring Service
World Hydrological Observing System
World Meteorological Organization
Water Resources Research Programme
Multispectral Mode Sensor System (SPOT)

Chapter 1 – Introduction to the Inventory of Glaciers and Glacial Lakes
1.3 OUTPUTS …..
l.4 ACTIVITIES ……………………………………
a) Glacier and glacial lake inventory………….
b) Monitoring potential risk lakes………………….
c) Establishment of an early Warning system
d) Results dissemination/publication……………..
Chapter 2 – General Characteristics of the Himachal Pradesh ……………. ..
2.1 GEOMORPHOLOGY…………………………………………………………
2.2 GE0L0GY……………….
2.3 S01LS
2.11 ECONOMY …………….
Chapter 3 – Hydro-Meteorol0gy…..
3.1 RIVERS ……………………….
Major Rivers and Tributaries:
3.4 CL1MATE…………….. ……..
Chapter 4 – Materials and Methods
4.4.1 Inventory of glaciers
Numbering of glaciers ………………….
Registration of snow and ice masses
Accuracy rating table
…………….. ..9

Mean glacier thickness and ice reserves …………………………………………………… ..43
Area of the glacier………….
Length ofthe glacier………
Mean width ………..
Orientation ofthe glacier
Elevation ofthe glacier ….
Morphological classification………….
4.4.2 Inventory of glacial lakes………
Numbering ofglacial lakes
Longitude and latitude

Types ofwater drainage…….
Other indices ………
Chapter 5 – Spatial Data Input and Attribute Data Handling …………………………….. ..53
Chapter 6 – Application of Remote Sensing ………………………………………………………. ..56
Chapter 7 – Inventory of Glaciers ……………………………………………………………………… ..70
7.2 TYPESOFGLACIER ……………………………….
7.4.2 Ravi River Basin …………..
7.4.3 Chenab River Basin
7.4.4 Satluj River Basin
7.4.5 The Sub Basins ….
Sub Basin l (Tsarap Chu)
Sub Basin 2 (Taklingla)……..
Sub Basin 3 (Bhagirathi)………
Sub Basin 4 (Pabbar)…………
Chapter 8 – Inventory of Glacial Lakes………………………
Chapter 9 – Glacial Lake Outburst Floods and Damage …………………………………… ..100
9.1 INTRODUCTION ……………….. …….100
9.4 SURGE …….104

Chapter 10 – Potentially Dangerous Glacial Lakes …………………………………………… .. 111
10.1 CRITERIA FOR IDENTIFICATION ………………………………………………………… 1 11
10.2.1 Beas River basin ……………………………………………………………….. ……..1l4
10.2.2 Satluj River basin………… ……..116
10.2.4 Chenab River basin……… ……..121
10.2.5 Sub-basin 2 ……..126
Chapter 11 – Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Mitigation Measures, Monitoring and
Early Warning System ………………………
SURGE ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. .. 134
1 1.4 MONITORING AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS ………………………………………… .. 134
Chapter 12 – Conclusions ……………………………………………………………………………….. ..138
Chapter 13 – References …………………………………………………………………………………. ..141
Annexes 149-254

Chapter 1
Introduction to the Inventory of
Glaciers and Glacial Lakes
Himachal Pradesh is a mountain province in the Indian Himalayas covering an area of
over 50 thousand sq. km, where mountains and hills occupy most of the land. It extends
from the Shivalik hills in the south to the Great Himalayan range including a slice of
Trans-Himalayas in the north. Goegraphically, the state of I-limachal Pradesh is situated
between 30°22’44” and 33°l2’4O” N latitude, and 75°45’55” to 79°04’20”E longitude.
The state is vulnerable to various hazards due to fragile geological conditions, great
elevation differences, and steep sloping terrain. Apart from landslides and river erosion,
the mountainous region is also quite susceptible to disastrous hazards due to glacial lake
outburst floods (GLOFs). The GLOF is the most devastating flood-producing
phenomenon, which occurs in the Himalayan region from time to time. In general, the
area above an elevation of 4,000 masl is mostly covered by snow and ice throughout the
year. The glaciers, some of which consist of a huge amount of perpetual snow and ice,
create many glacial lakes. These glaciers, as well as the glacial lakes, are the sources of
the headwaters of many great rivers in the region. Most of these lakes are located in the
down valleys close to the glaciers. GLOF refers to the sudden outburst of lakes, dammed
by glacier ice or moraines, producing flows of water that are often of an order of
magnitude greater than normal rain-derived peak flows and may travel tens of kilometers
downstream, transporting colossal amounts of debris. The occurrence of GLOF in high
mountains poses many problems for inhabitants and their infrastructure. First the loss of
human life is extremely high, second agricultural crops and land are washed away on a
large scale, third hydroelectric projects and roads are totally destroyed or damaged, then
rock-fill dams may be breached if the inflow of the torrent of debris cannot be
accommodated over the spillway, and lastly large reservoirs are rapidly filled with
The bursting of moraine-dammed lakes is often due to the breaching of the dam by the
erosion of the dam material as a result of overtopping by surging water or piping of dam
material. Earthquakes leading to the slumping of dam material may also cause the
bursting of the lake. The drainage of ice-dammed lakes may be due to: flotation of the ice
dam, pressure defonnation, melting of tunnels through or under the ice, and drainage
associated with tectonic activity.
The propagation of GLOF surges provokes landslides and bank erosion that temporarily
block the surge waves and result in a series of surges as the landslide dams breach. The
flood surge can propagate hundreds of kilometres below the glacial lake. Several
empirical relationships have been developed from approximate computations of peak
release discharges and they indicate that the moraine-dammed lakes may cause peak
discharges, which are 10 times higher than the ice-dammed lakes. The damage and
constraints are similar to those as in the case of landslide dam bursts.

In the last half-century, several glacial lakes have developed in the Hindu Kush-
Himalayas and Tibetan Himalayas and the phenomenon, generally known as glacial lake
outburst flood (GLOF), is recognised to be a common problem in Hindu Kush-Himalayan
countries such as Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, and China (Tibet).
A study conducted by the International Commission on Snow and Ice (ICSI) has observed
that Himalayan glaciers are receding faster than in any other part of the World and if the
present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high.
News bulletin of the Worldwatch Institute (March 6, 2000) says “within the next 35
years, the Himalayan glacial area alone is expected to shrink by one-fifth.” For some time
the rivers originating in the Himalayas are expected to swell abnormally and then fall to
dangerously low levels. The report also wams about the bursting of glacial lakes.
Therefore it is important to distinguish whether the cause of recent flash flood in the
Sutlej was bursting of glacial lake or cloudburst in the Tibetan Plateau. A study done by
the Geological Survey of India has concluded that the rate of retreat of glaciers in India
over the last l0 years has been very fast (News Time, Hyderabad, 2002). The Gangotri
glacier, one of the major and important glaciers in the Himalayas, was 25 km long when
measured in the 1930s and has now shrunk to about 20 km (Hasnain, 1999). The Dokriani
Bamak glacier (3 miles long) in the Himalayas has been one of the most studied in the
world, and since 1990 it has receded half a mile (Gergan et. al, 1999). Research indicates
that glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating at an average rate of 30 m a year, compared
with earlier rates of l8 m a year between I935 and 1999, and 7 m a year between 1842
and 1935 (
Geological survey of India has done the yearly specific balance for some glaciers in the
Indian Himalaya. Hasnain from Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) has reviewed the
status of the Glacier Research in the HKH region ( The studies in
hydrochemistry of meltwaters, sediment transfer and glacier hydrology were conducted
by the J.N.U research group (Hasnain, 1996; Hasnain and Thayyen l999a,b). The
interesting highlights are the occurrence of high sulphate content during the seasonal high
discharges and glacially controlled sediment exhaustion is off set between July and mid-
September by the impact of monsoonal regime on the supraglacial covered glaciers.
Significant research work is being undertaken in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and
Pakistan. In India, the Glacier Research Group at J awaharlal Nehru University, New
Delhi, has been actively engaged in conducting research on the Dokraini and Gangotri
glaciers in the Bhagirathi-Ganga basin, Ganga River headwater, including glacial
hydrology, glacier hydrochemistry, sediment transfer, subglacial hydrology and mass
balance studies. Glacial lakes in China Himalaya have also been extensively studied over
the years. The middle Himalaya has many potentially dangerous lakes. The total area
covered by the glaciers in the China Himalaya is about ll0OO krn2 (Shi and Li, 1980).
Glacier tennini of I00 glaciers has been studied by Li Jijun (l 986) and observed that 47
glaciers were advancing and 53 retreating.
Glacier lake outburst studies have also been done very extensively in the eastem Nepal
(Yamada, 1998). In 2000, ICIMOD with support from UNEP and national institutions of
Bhutan and Nepal, have been engaged in a major study to prepare an Inventory of
Glaciers and Glacier Lakes of Bhutan and Nepal (ICIMOD & UNEP, 2000). It is
necessary to have an accurate knowledge of the distribution of glaciers to estimate the

runoff from snow and glacier melt. According to this inventory, there are 3252 glaciers
and 2323 glacial lakes in Nepal, of which 20 glacial lakes are identified as potentially
dangerous. The results of this study based mainly on secondary data, such as maps,
satellite images, and aerial photographs, have to be verified by first hand field
observations. Similarly, the inventory shows there to be 677 glaciers and 2674 glacial
lakes in Bhutan (M001 et al., 2001).
Results of a few studies conducted on glaciers over the years by specialist individuals and
institutions confinn this. The Intemational commission for snow and ice had disclosed
that glaciers in the Himalavan region are receding at a faster rate than in any other part of
the universe. The commission had accordingly Wamed that if the glaciers in the
Himalayan region continued to recede at the present rate, most of them are likely to
disappear by the year 2035. The investigative report of two foreign Scientists Mevasaki
and Leska, published in the seventies, wherein they had stated, inter alia, that the change
in the climate in this sub continent is leaving its effect on the glaciers too, and their size is
getting shorter. These scientists studied, analysed and researched all the documents
available on this subject since the year 1850 and concluded that glaciers were shrinking
even without any artificial warming. Pindari glacier also receded by 1350 meters between
1849 and 1957 Whereas the Chhotta Shigri glacier in Himachal Pradesh shrunk by 80
meters between 1986 and 1988 (Source: Newstime, Hyderabad, 25.5.2002).
In India, Dr. Kulkami and associates from Marine and Water Resources Group, Space
Applications Centre, Ahmedabad are actively working on the effect of climatic variations
on snow and glaciers in Himachal Pradesh. They have also prepared a glacier inventory
of the Satluj Basin using remote sensing technique and monitored the glacier retreation in
the basin using IRS PAN stereo data (Kulkami, 2003) and observed that during the period
1963 -1997, Janapa Glacier retreated by 696 m, Shaune Garang by 923 m, Jorya Garang
by 425 m, Naradu Garang by 550 m, Bilare Bange by 90 m, Karu Garang by 800 m and
Baspa Bamak is retreated by 380 m. They further observed a massive glacial retreat of
6.8 km i.e. 178 m/year was observed in Parbati glacier in Kullu District during 1962 to
2000. In their studies they observed an overall 19 per cent retreated in glaciated area and
23 per cent in glacier volume in last 39 years. These observations suggest that global
warming has affected snow – glacier melt and runoff pattem in the Himalayas. Randhawa
et al. (2001), using remote sensing techniques, prepared a glacier inventory for the Satluj
and Beas basins in Himachal Pradesh under Himalayan Glacier Inventory program on the
scale of l:50,000. The mapping was done using satellite data. The study indicated the
presence of total 334 glaciers and 1987 snow fields in the entire satluj basin covering an
area of 2697 as a whole. Of the 38 moraine dammed lakes identified in the entire
basin, 14 lakes falls in the Himachal Himalayas where as the remaining lakes falls in the
Tibet Himalayas in the Satluj catchment (Kulakmi, 1996).
Another active research group at Geological Survey of India at Luk hnow as a part of their
study on “Glacier recession in Himalayas” depicted that Ravi basin has 172 glaciers
covering an area of 193 kmz, Chenab- 1278 galcier with 3059 km2 area, Beas-277
glaciers with 579 kmz area and satluj basin has 926 glaciers covering an area of 1252
kmz. They have also studied the satluj basin glaciers Gara, Gor Garang,Shaune Garang,
Nagpo Tokpo in details and observed an average retreat of 4.22 -6.8 m/year in all these.
In chenab basin they studied Bara Shigri, Chhota Shigri, Miyar, Hamtah, Nagpo Tokpo,

Triloknath and Sonapani and concluded that the average glacier retreat rate ranges from
6.81 in/year for Chhota Shigri to 29.78 m/year for Bara Shigri glacier (Srivastava, 2003).
In Himachal Pradesh, the sources of its major rivers and the bulk of its freshwater
resources are locked up in ice and snow. During the last few decades there has been a
rapid retreat of glaciers creating many dangerous moraine-dammed lakes. The formation
of such lakes could be dangerous as these lakes may contain a large quantity of water and
lakes can cause flash floods in the downstream areas. There are quite a few number of
such lakes in Himachal Pradesh, which is divided into four major river basins viz., Beas,
Ravi, Chenab and Satluj and four sub basins, having the area ranging between 0.1 and
1.25 sq. km. One such lake located at the snout of the Geopang Gath Glacier in the
Chandra basin has been studied in detail for assessing the volume of water (Kulakrni,
1996, Randhawa et al. 2001 ). This lake also exists in the survey of India toposheets and
its area is 0.27 sq km as per topographical map of 1976. It has been estimated that within
a span of 22 years, the aerial extent of the lake was observed as 0.42 and 0.5 sq. km
(Depth of the lake was estimated by taking the average of maximum and minimum height
of moraine dam and the average depth of the lake is estimated as 18 m). The height was
taken from Survey of India toposheets. By considering the average depth, the volume of
the lake water was estimated as 9.0 million m3 in 1998. The instantaneous discharge in
the lake is estimated as 326.89-m3/ sec. This discharge is much more than the summer
discharge calculated for Chhota Shigri nala, which is 10 m3/sec. The researchers further
concluded that if this lake bursts, there will be a sudden increase in its discharge, which
may create large damage in the downstream area. Thus in order to assess the possible
hazards from such lakes, it has become essential to have the systematic inventory of all
such lakes formed at the high altitudes. Besides making a temporal inventory, a close
monitoring of these lakes is required to assess the change in their behaviour.
Another desiccated glacial lake and the old terminal moraine are visible from the Rohtang
Pass in Chenab Basin. The desiccated lake, about 2.5 km in length, is a narrow
meandering plain following the contours of bounding slopes and consists of such fluvio-
glacial deposits as mud, fine sand, pebbles and angular gravels, through which the glacier
stream runs. The associated Sonapani glacier is about 11 km long. The Bara shigri
glacier in Lahaul-Spiti is receding at an alarming rate of 10 metres a year. This is the
second largest glacier in the world. Three artificial lakes have been created on the hills
on top of the strategic Pangi valley road, which are threatening it in case these burst and
their waters came down swirling (Sharma, 2001). Such lakes are considered unsafe as
these contain a sufficient quantity of water for causing floods downstream. Rupturing of
moraine dammed lakes can cause floods in the valleys. Environmentalists have warned
that the low lying areas might be devastated by flashfloods in case the process of melting
of glaciers continued in the present manner. The study indicates that the aerial size of the
lake created by the Geopang Gath glacier was 0.27 sq. km in 1976 which increased to
0.47 sq. km in 1998. The size of the lake near another glacier was 0.30 sq. km in 1972
and has now grown to 1.22 sq. km. Another glacial lake on the Sissu Nullah was 0.27 sq.
km in 1976 and it increased to 0.47 sq. km in 1998. The recent flashflood in the Sutlej,
which resulted in heavy losses in tenns of life and property, is feared to have been caused
either due to a cloud burst or breach of lake in the upper reaches. The Manali and Kulu
areas suffered widespread damage due to a flashflood in the Beas river and its tributaries
a few years ago when the headquarters of the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment
(SASE), which predicts such disasters, was itself devastated (Sharma, 2000).

In many other glaciers as well, small isolated lakes/ponds have been formed. They are
increasing in size at a very fast rate. It has been observed that some of the glaciers in
Himachal Pradesh are retreating by about 20—30m in a year (Annonymous, 2001).
One should be fully aware of the dangerous nature of large glacial lakes, especially if they
happen to exist at the headwaters of rivers that flow through inhabited valleys or are
hamessed for the generation of hydropower and/or for other purposes. It is an utter
necessity to identify such lakes initially from the study of satellite images (and aerial
photograpls if available) and to assess their field conditions without delay. Some of these
lakes may need only regular monitoring whereas a few may really need structural counter
measures to reduce the inherent hazards they pose.
ICIMOD and UNEP/RRC-AP from 1999 to 2001 inventoried 3,252 glaciers and 2,323
glacial lakes in Nepal and 677 glaciers and 2,674 glacial lakes in Bhutan. The study also
identified 20 glacial lakes in Nepal and 24 glacial lakes in Bhutan as potential glacial lake
outburst flood. In addition to this at least 20 catastrophic outburst events have been
documented in Bhutan, Nepal and China over the past 50 years Comparable information
from India and Pakistan is virtually non-existent. To fulfill the gap, ICIMOD in
collaboration with APN, START and partner institutes continued the study in 2002. A
beginning has been made to document glaciers, glacial lakes and potentially dangerous
glacial lakes in the HKH region from which valuable knowledge and lessons are being
learned. The study will expand the glacial lake and GLOF knowledge base of HKH
region. Taken together, the database development will greatly enhance the ability of
global and regional climate researchers, national policy makers and water resource
planners, as well as the general public, to understand and mitigate GLOF-associated
The programme of APN is extended in 2003 to continue the inventories of glaciers and
glacial lakes in Pakistan, India and China as a second phase of APN project. This report
describes the Himachal Pradesh, India part only.
For the mapping and inventory of the glaciers and glacial lakes, the methodology used in
this study is based on the research study of the Temporary Technical Secretary for the
World Glacier Inventory of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich
(Muller et al. 1977; World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) 1989).

To understand the GLOF phenomenon by creating an inventory of existing glacial
lakes and monitoring the GLOF events on a regular basis
To establish an effective early warning mechanism to monitor GLOF hazards
using RS and GIS in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region
To develop the capacity building of national institutions to assess and monitor the
GLOF phenomenon
To disseminate the results and outputs to the relevant organisations in the region
that could make use of this information for GLOF hazard prevention and
mitigation planning
An inventory of glaciers and glacial lakes of Himachal Pradesh
Identification of potential risk lakes
Recommendations for the establishment of a system for monitoring potential risk
lakes using RS and GIS
Strengthening of capabilities of the national institutions to implement an early
Waming system for GLOF hazard monitoring
Dissemination of the results and outputs to relevant institutions
a) Glacier and glacial lake inventory
Acquisition of Land Observation Satellite (LANDSAT) Thematic Mapper (TM),
IRS LISS 3 images for 2000 covering the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Collection of GIS data layers including digital elevation models (DEM), geology,
soils, hydrology (rivers), land use, infrastructure (roads), settlements, forest,
administrative boundaries (districts and villages), urban areas, and tourist SPOTs
on a scale of l:50,000
Data analysis and report writing.
b) Monitoring potential risk lakes
Acquisition of LANDSAT TM/Systeme Probatoire Pour l’Obselvation de la Terre
(SPOT)/RS images of 1990 and 1995 for glacial lakes.
Acquisition of time series satellite images for 1990 and 1995
Field checking and validation of results.
Report writing
c) Establishment of an early warning system
Developing the methodology using RS and GIS techniques for the inventory of
glaciers and glacial lakes and for the GLOF monitoring and early warning system

0 Training two participants from Himachal Pradesh
d) Results dissemination/publication
I Publication of a comprehensive repofl including (l) to (3) above
Dissemination of results and outputs in the fonn of reports, on CD, and through
the Internet.
I Organisation of a workshop to release the results and outputs.

s E?‘
F ‘I
I StuclyofMapsl I
Study of Acquisition of
Libexatures &|telJ.ite Images
i GIS Data Laye
Data and Maps collection
lnvenlnry of glaciers and glacial lakes
Digitlsing of spatial and attribute data
Digital database of glaciers and glacial lakes
Analysis and identification of potential danger lakes
L ““““‘E”°“‘
Tiansfer of

Chapter 2
General Characteristics
of the Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh, situated in the lap of Western Himalayas, has majestic mountains,
fertile valleys, perennial rivers, precious forests, invaluable flora and fauna, tremendous
wealth of resources, minerals, very rich culture and diverse customs and manners. The
state of Himachal Pradesh is situated between 30° 22’ 44” and 33° l2’ 40” N latitude, and
75° 45’55” to 79°04’20” E longitude, and occupies an area of 5.57 million ha. Himachal
Pradesh is a hilly state with a general increase in elevation from west to east and south to
north ranging from 350 m to 7000 m (Kayastha, l97l). Its one-third areas remain snow
covered for about seven months in a year. This snowy part of the State is the source of
three major rivers — Beas, Ravi, and Chenab while Satluj and Yamuna Rivers originate
from Tibet and Yamnotri, respectively. Its climatic conditions vary from extremely hot to
severe cold regions like Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti. Dharamsala and Palampur in
Kangra district receive the highest precipitation only next to Chirapunji (highest rainfall
in the world), while areas like Spiti almost have no rainfall during the winter season.
Physiographically the Himachal Pradesh has been identified into four divisions (Marh,
2000) and is described briefly below:
Outer Himalaya 0r the Shivaliks
This division consists of low hills of Shivalik Zone with an elevation of up to 600 m.
Shivalik hills are made of monoclinal hills dipping gently southward, steep scraps facing
north and structural valleys called duns to the north of them. This Zone represents the
youngest part of the Himalaya and the strata here consist of sandstone, conglomerate and
shale. These are prone to erosion and this zone has a highly dissected and rugged terrain.
The seasonal streams called choes have dissected deeply into the unconsolidated
understream. This zone is about 50 km wide in the west, becomes about 80 km wide in
Kangra valley and tapers to smaller width in Nalagarh and Kyarda Duns in east. Main
ranges in this division are Hathi Dhar, Sikandar Dhar, Chaumukhi range, Solasinghi
Dhar, Ramgarh Dhar, Naina Devi Dhar and Dharti Dhar.
Lesser Himalaya or Central Zone
This zone mainly includes the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges. The Dhauladhar and Pir
Panjal ranges are conspicuous and quite distinct in the west and form the southern and
northem watershed of Ravi Basin. Dhauladhar extends further east into the Beas valley
and crosses the Satluj river near Rampur. Pir Panjal fonning the southem watershed of
the Chandrabhaga in Chamba and Lahaul Spiti districts joins the Great Himalayan range
north of Deo Tibba and Rupi Valley (Parbati River). Some minor ranges of lesser
Himalaya are Dagni Dhar, Mani Mahesh and Dhog Dhar in the Ravi valley; Jalori Dhar
and Shikari Dhar in Beas and Satluj basins and Nagtibba range. Mussourie range and
Shimla hills in the Yamuna basin east of the great Himalayan Divide.

Great Himalaya or Central Zone
The great Himalaya range forms the northern watershed of the Chandrabhaga (Chenab)
basin and separates it from Spiti basin and further east it forms watershed between Spiti
and Beas basins. It is cut across by Satluj before it enters the Utter Pradesh Himalaya with
extension to Badrinath/Kedamath. The elevation of the great Himalaya ranges between
5000 and 6000 m, and it has several passes having elevations between 4500 m.
Zanskar range
The easternmost range of Himachal Pradesh is the Zanskar range. It forms the northem
watershed of the Spiti and Sangla valleys in Kinnaur and roughly fonns the Indo-Tibetian
boarder. Satluj cuts across the Zanskar range forming a deep gorge. In the southeastem
part of Kinnaur, one prominent range comes out of it towards west-northeast in the fonn
of Kinner Kailash range. Himachal Pradesh displays extensive areas with present day and
past glaciers. Almost whole of the state has been either directly or indirectly affected by
glaciers. Modem glaciers are merely the shrunken renmants of the much more extensive
alpine glaciers of the Pleistocene ice age. Large pait of Zanskar, Great Himalaya and Pir
Panjal are currently being glaciated and display features of glacial topography while other
areas have features of extensive past glaciations. Gawvood (1924) has suggested that in
Kangra valley glaciers came down to as low as 610 m. On the basis of analysis of
deposits found in the Kangra valley, Shanna (1977) has suggested that this area has
experienced three major glacial periods. This kind of extension of glaciers to low
elevations has also been suggested in the Ravi valley near Chamba town (Marh, 1996).
Evidences indicting the presence of glaciers in the past like different kind of morains, ice-
transported blocks, smoothened and striated rock surfaces, U- shaped valleys, hanging
valleys, glacial lakes and glacial- fluvial deposits are found in different parts of the state
(Sharma, 1977; Marh, 1986; Marh et al., 1994).
The state of the Himachal Pradesh comprises the most complicated geological regions in
the Himalaya. The Region falls into four major stratigraphical zones (Singh and Bhandari,
2000) as described below:
Outer 0r sub-Himalayan Zone
This Zone also called Shivaliks, consists mainly of tertiary formations, extending from
north-west to south-east. This system comprises great thickness of detrital rocks, clays
and conglomerates.
Lower Himalayan range
This zone is mainly comprised of granite and other crystalline rocks of unfossiliferrous
sediments. The Karol belt separates this region from Shivalik system. The rocks of the
Shimla-Karol belt are of dark unaltered slates and micaceous sandstones. Metamorphosed
rocks are overthurst on the Shimla slates. The overlying deposits of the Karol belt have a)
Karol limestones and b) Tal quartzites.

High Himalayan Zone
The rocks of this zone lack fossils. The granite rocks and granitic gneisses exist in south
of Spiti region and also along the Satluj. In this zone, severe tectonics have affected the
crystalline rocks and led to the formation of the crystalline klipen as in the Shimla area.
Tibetan or Tethys Himalayan zone
This zone mainly consists of the wide basin covering the Spiti valley. A nearly complete
sequence of fossiliferrous Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata is laid bare in this zone. The
youngest Mesozoic formations are obviously composed in the central part of the basin.
The base of the sedimentaiy column is formed by argilacious metamorphics where mica
schist rich in Kyanite, staurolite and garnets are predominant. The rusty ferruginous slates
are also present at many places.
The soils of the state have not been classified properly so far because of lack of
information and a great deal of heterogeneity (Singh and Bhandari, 2000). According to
Raychaudhary and Govinda Rajan (1971), these soils have been shown as brown hill soils
in the old system of classification. These soils have been tenned as Cambisols as a broad
soil region in FAO-UNESCO soil map of the world, vol II (Anonymous, 177). However,
based on their development and physico-chemical properties, the soils of the state can be
broadly divided into nine groups (Yadava and Thakur, 1972; Venna 1979; Verma and
Tripathi, 1982; Verma et al. 1985; Singh, 1987; Singh et al. 1996) as shown below:
Alluvial soils
These soils are characterized by the incipient profile development and usually exhibit AC
profiles and occasionally B2 horizon. Such soils are found in Una (Una district), Indora
(Kangra district) and Poanta (Sinnaur district) areas where floodplain is a dominant
physiography. These soils correspond to Udifluvents and Eutrochrepts in accordance with
Soil Taxonomy of USDA (Soil Survey Staff, 1990). These are generally coarse textured
soils comprising loamy sand and sandy loam and occasionally loam to sandy clay loam.
These are low in organic matter and neutral (pH >6.5) in reaction. The soils are somewhat
calcareous in nature in which calcium carbonate varies from 2.0 to 4.5 per cent.
Brown hill soils
These soils are found in Nahan (Sirmaur district) and Solan (Solan district) areas.
Generally the soils have ABC profiles in which process of illuviation has given rise to the
development of cambic or argillic horizons. These soils are medium to high in organic
matter and neutral to slightly acidic in reaction. Sandy loam to clay loam texture is
usually encountered. According to the soil taxonomy the soils are classified as Hapludols,
Hapludalfs and Udorthents.
Non-Calcic Brown soils
These soils are generally found in parts of Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Mandi districts besides
Dehra Gopipur (Kangra district) areas. These soils show moderate development leading
to ABC profiles. Depending upon the physiography, these are characterized by the
presence of argillic horizons whereas in certain locations, cambic horizon is of common
occurrence. Soil reaction is neutral in most cases and rarely acidic. The texture varies
from loamy sand to clay loam. Organic matter content varies from low to medium. These

soils are equivalent to Eutrochrepts and hapludalfs according to Soil Taxonomy of
Brown Forest soils
These soils are found in parts of Chamba districts where the forest vegetation has resulted
in the formation of dark A horizon. The soils are further characterized by B horizon
which invariably shows alluvial clay as evidenced by clay argillans on ped surfaces.
These have moderately deep to deep solum. The soils are sandy loam to clay loam in
texture and slightly acidic to neutral in reaction. The soils belong to Hapludalf,
Hapludolls and Eutrochrepts groups in order of their occurrence.
Grey Wooded or Brown Podzolic Soils
Grey wooded soils are commonly developed in parts of Shimla and Kullu districts and
Karsog area of Mandi district. The soils are mainly developed under varying magnitude
of podzolization. B horizon shows illuviation of free sesquioxides and clay. A horizon is
generally characterized by darker colours containing high organic matter. ABC profiles
are generally found on stable physiography. Soil reaction ranges from slightly to strongly
acidic and the textures are sandy loam to clay loam. The soils belong to Hapludolls and
hapludalfs groups.
Grey Brown Podzolic soils
These soils are commonly found in parts of Kangra district and Jogindemagar area of
Mandi district. The soils have well developed B2 horizon marked by iluvial clay on ped
surfaces and are moderately to well developed. The dominant process of soil formation is
podzolization. In adition, B2 horizon is characterized by stronger matrix colours of redder
hues, high values and chromas and are accompanied by Fe-Mn concretions. Thick argillic
horizon underlying ochric epipedon is generally seen. Heavy texture of clay loam silt
loam and silty clay soils are often found. They are distinctly acidic in reaction. In soil
taxonomy these soils are classified as Paleudalf, Hapludalf and Haplorthods.
Planosolic Soils
These soils are found in Balh valley of Mandi district, Ghumarwin of Bilaspur district,
Nagwain area of Kullu district and Saproon valley of Solan district. The soils are
imperfectly drained. Gleyed horizon often shows Fe-Mn concretions, mottling and grey
matrix colours which qualify for cambic diagnostic horizon for moderately developed soil
profiles whereas argillic horizon is invariably found indicating marked illuviation of clay.
Soils are medium to fine textured i.e. sandy loam to sandy clay loam and clay loam and
are neutral in reaction. Organic matter is usually medium to high whereas available
phosphorus and potassium are rated under medium categories. These soils are placed in
Ochraqualfs. Hapludalfs and Haplaquepts groups under soil taxonomy.
Humus and Iron Podzols
These soils are mainly confined to parts of Shimla, Dalhousie and Manali regions. The
soils are predominantly formed under the process of podzolisation. While dark coloured
A horizon is enriched with organic matter. the reddish brown to yellowish brown B2
horizon contains free iron and aluminum accompanied by organic matter. Typical ashy
grey albic (A2 horizon) is rather uncommon in such podzols. Profiles are marked by
distinct spodic horizon underlying Mollic or Umbric epipedon. Soils are acidic in reaction

and contain high amounts of organic matter. Sandy loam, sandy clay loam and clay loam
textures are common. They are low in available phosphorus and high in potassium. As per
soil taxonomy, these soils qualify for Haplorthods, Argiudolls and Hapludolls.
Alpine Humus Mountain Skeletal Soils
These soils are found in the Himalayan highlands constituting the districts of Kinnaur,
Lahaul- Spiti and Pangi tehsil of Chamba district where the precipitation is low and
temperature regimes may be frigid to mesic. Mollic or ochric epipedons are overlying
cambic horizon in moderately developed soil profiles only over stable physiographic
situations. Soils are gravelly loamy sand to loam. usually high in organic matter and
neutral in reaction. Available phosphorus and potassium are generally medium to high.
On the basis of soil taxonomy, these soils can be classified as Hapludolls, Eutrochrepts
and Udorthents (Sehgal, 1973; Negi, 1976; Venna, 1979; Shanna and Singh, 1991).
Himachal Pradesh being a hilly state is bound on many sides by high hills and there are
several inhabited valleys enclosed around by high mountains. The approach to these
valleys is through difficult mountain passes, some of which are given below (Attri, 2000):
Kundi ki jot: This pass lies between Kaniara and Chinota. This pass is said to have been
one of the earliest and much used in old times by the Gaddies (nomads) of Chamba
district. Bohar pass: This pass lies between Boh in Kangra and Basu or Bakan in
Chamba. It is low and easy to cross. Indrarpass: The location of this pass is between
Dharamsala (Kangra district) and Chinota. The frozen snow is rather steep, otherwise it is
an easy pass to cross over. Satnalo pass: This is a difficult pass, which lies between
Bandla (Kangra district) and Bara Bauao. Talang pass: The pass lies from the head of
Bangana river, between Naiwana or Jiya (Kangra district) and Traita. Although this is
very high pass, but not difficult one. The height of this pass is about 16, 000 feet above
mean sea level. Kuronw and Sultanpur passes: These passes fall in the mountain ranges of
Lahaul and Kullu district. Bara Lacha passes: Its height is estimated to be between 16221
and 16500 feet above mean sea level lying between Zingzingbar and Lingti encamping
grounds. This pass is generally open to traffic from June to October. During winter
months it remains hennetically sealed. Kugti pass: This pass is a gateway to Bara
Bhangal another tribal area in Himachal Pradesh and is approximately 17000 feet high.
Kwagpur pass: It lies between the villages of Sungra in Kinnaur and Teri in Spiti and
occurs on the line from Dhunkar to Shimla. Its height is between 14000 and 15000 feet
above mean sea level. Manirung pass: This pass lies in between village of Mani on one
side and Robuk in Kinnaur on the other side. The height of this pass is approximately
18889 feet above mean sea level. This pass is used by traders from Spiti, Bushahr and
Kinnaur. T akling pass: It strikes off from Spiti at the height of l 7000 feet above mean sea
level. It enters Ladakh and is rarely used. Babeh pass: It rises from Satluj at the Wangtu
bridge ascending to the valley of Gutaon in Kinnaur, the first village in Spiti, after
passing Modh in the pin valley. This is used by people living in Bushehar, Kinnaur and
Spiti. Parung pass: This pass lies at a height of 18, 508 feet above mean sea level. This
pas lies between the village of Kiber in Spiti and Ladakh This is used by traders of Spiti,
Bushahr and Ladakh and tourists proceedings from Shimla to Leh on the Pangong Lake.

Humta pass: The Humta pass lies between Preenee in the upper Beas valley and Chaitroo
in Chandra valley It is estimated to be 15000 feet high. The pass is open most part of the
Rohtang pass: The pass lies at a height of 13, 325 feet above mean sea level and lies
between Rahla in Kullu valley and Khoksar in Lahaul valley.This pass is a gateway to
Lahaul. The river Beas originates from Rohtang pass.
Kunzum pass: This pass lies at a height of 14 900 feet above mean sea level. It is between
Upper Chandra valley and Losar in Spiti valley.

‘* -“I ” Q
* “1
._ -\§
Malana pass: It lies at a height of 12, 000 feet and is situated between the villages of
Naggar and Malana in Kullu district and the ascent on both sides is very fatiguing.
Bubboo pass: This pass lies at a height of 10, 000 feet and is a boundary between Mandi
and Kullu district. Bajaura pass: This pass lies at a height of 7000 feet and is between
Kamand in Beas valley and Bajaura in Kullu valley. Jalouri pass: This pass lies between
Manglore and Kot in Seraj in Kullu district. This pass has a big forest on either side.
Basloh pass: This pass lies at a height of 1 1, 000 feet above mean sea level and lies along
Plach and Nirmand in Seraj.
Several kinds of erosion are taking place in Himachal Pradesh. Some of these are sheet
erosion, Rill and gully erosion, stream and river bank erosion, Road construction erosion,
land slide erosion and glacier erosion. Sharma and Singh, (1991) has described in detail
these erosions taking place in Himachal.

Land slides along NH-22 Khadra Dhank (now abandoned ~ the road is rerouted and this
stretch is avoided due to frequent landslides) in Kinnaur district (Photo by R.M. Bhagat)
I A \ . ,
Glacier erosion: Shanna and Singh ( 1991) has explained that Whenever there is a
movement of large mass of ice down the slopes, it brings alongwith huge debris causing
lot of soil erosion. Glacial erosion is characterized by furrowing, cutting, ploughing and
scouring action on the land mass. The flash floods due to enormous snowrnelt transpon
the debris down into the river system after having inflicted lot of damage to the bed and
to the sides of gullies. These authors have further shown evidence of such occurrence
near Jangi village in Kinnaur district, where lakhs of tones of debris have been brought by
glaciers few years back and dumped into the bed of Tidong rivulet and Satluj river Where

it drains. In Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts there are many conspicuous glacier
paths devoid of vegetation that directly dump debris into the river beds.
India has total hydro-power potential of 80,044 MW. Himachal Pradesh has a vast Hydel
potential and preliminary hydrological, topographical and geographical investigations has
estimated that there is about 21,332 MW potential in this state. Most of the projects
already producing electricity are under the control of outside agencies like Bhakhra Beas
management Board, Punjab State electricity Board
Sector wise power consumption in H.P.

End user during 1997-98 Million K watt. Percentages of total
Domestic 473 .372 24.33
Commercial 134.898 6.9
Industrial 1 182.454 60.78
Agriculture 10.532 0.54
Public lightening 6.049
Miscellaneous 13 8.241
Total 1945.545
The above pattem shows that Industrial composition in HP alone accounts for about 61
per cent of total consumption.
Details of identified/unidentified hydro potential of HP.
Yamuna basin
S.No. Project under operation Mega Watt
Yamuna Project
Satluj b
Rong Tong
Bhakhra Dam
SVP Bhaba
Nogli Stage I
Beas ba
Beas Satluj Project
Uhl Stage I
Uhl Stage II
Pong Dam

Ravi basin
Bharmour Micro
Barva Sieul
Chemera Stage I
Chenab basin

Project under operation Mega Watt
Project under Construction Mega Watt
Yamuna basin
1. Gumma SHP
Satluj basin
1. Bhaba AUG Scheme
2. Nathpa Jhakri
3. Ghanvi
4. Rampur
Beas basin
1 . Largi
2. Uhl Stage II
Ravi basin
1 . Holi
2. Sal II
3. Chemera Stage II
Projects under Private and Joint Sectors
Project under operation Mega Watt
. Dhamwari Sunda (Yamuna)
. Baspa Stage II (Satluj)
. Karcham Wangtoo (Satluj)
K01 Dam (Satluj)
. Uhl Stage I11 (Beas)
Malana (Beas)
. Budhil (Ravi)
. Hibra (Ravi)
Brief detai1s of the projects in Himachal Pradesh
1. Baner Hydel Project (12 MW) It has been built on the Baner ‘Khad’ which is a
tributary of river Beas and originated from the southem slopes of Dhauladhar
range. The project is located in Distt. Kangra The project was commissioned on
May 13, 1996.

Gaj Hydel Project (10.5 MW): This project with an installed capacity of 10.5 MW
during a mean year, is a run of the river scheme, utilizing the
water of Gaj and Leond ‘Khad’. The project is located in Distt. Kangra at a
distance of 40 km from Kangra Town. The project was commissioned on April
22, 1996.
Bhaba Augmentation Scheme (3MW): 1t is being created primarily to augment the
water availability in the Bhaba Khad;, during the winter season. The discharge in
the Bhaba Khad is reduced to a great extent during winter when entire catchment
area is covered with snow, thereby reducing the firm power capacity of emitting
120 MW SVP.
Bassi (60 MW): The maximum demand recorded in this power house during
1996-1997 was 60 MW. The main transmission line and sub-stations are Bassi-
Hamirpur, Bassi-Shana and sub station at Bassi.
Binwa (6 MW): Binwa khad is a tributary of the river Beas originating in the
southem slopes of Dhauladhar range at an altitude of 4300 m. Binwa khad joins
the Beas river after traversing a distance of about 100 km. Binwa project with 2
Unit of 3 MW each is located near Baijnath in Palampur tehsil of Kangra District.
K01 Dam (800 MW): The Kol Dam site is very easily approachable from Slapper
bridge on the national highway 21. Beas-Satluj project is 5-6 km away from the
site of K01 Dam. The Govemment of HP took a decision during Oct, 1995 to
invite global offers for the equity participation of Himachal Govt. is to be 25 %
and private party 75 %. Now, it has been decided to hand over the project to
Bhaba Project (120 MW): This power house with 3 units of 40 MW each is
located at Bhabanagar in the Kinnaur district. The intake site of the project is
across river Bhaba, a tributary of Satluj river. Bhaba project is popularly known
as Sanjay Vidyut Pariyojna.
Bhakhra Darn (1200 MW): The location of the Bhakhra Dam is near Bhakhra
Village in Bilaspur district. The purpose for the constniction of this dam was
irrigation and hydro power. The catchment area of Bhakhra dam is 56,876 km.
Flanked on both sides by two gigantic power plants, the 225 m high Bhakhra dam
is one of the highest straight gravity dam in the world.
Beas – Satluj Project (990 MW): The Beas project is located in Mandi district with
the capacity of 990 MW. A fall of 335 m has been created with the cost of Rs.
260 million Beas Satluj link project. The Beas river has been diverted at Pandoh.
There are in all six units of 165 MW each at Dehar close to the meeting point of
the two rivers.
Baspa Project II: this Project located in Kinnour has been considered for execution
with the private sector. The project has been techno-economically cleared by CEA
and the firm has started infra-structure works. The project is expected to be
commissioned by 2001.
Pong Dam (360 MW): The location of the dam is in Kangra district. It is on river
Beas and the catchment area is 12562 km. The construction of this dam was

started as early as in 1960 and completed in 1974. The height of the dam is 133
13. Shanan Electricity House: The oldest hydel project is located near Jogindemagar.
The project is brain child of Col. Betti. The main attraction of the shaman power
house is the diversion of Uhl and Lamba tributaries of Beas rivers flowing at 1800
m above mean sea level in Mandi district. This power house is known for its
Engineering feet which was the first electric project in the Himalayas in 1930.
14. Neugal Hydel Project (15 MW): This project is located in district Kangra and has
been considered for execution.
15. Chemera II Project (300 MW): The project is located in Chamba district on river
Ravi and the first stage is in operation
16. Nathpa Jakhri project (1500 MW): The project envisages the construction of pick
up dam on Satluj river at Nathpa about 3 miles down stream of Wangtoo. Installed
capacity of this project will be 1500 MW and estimated revised cost will be Rs.
7208 crores. From this project HP will get 12 % free electricity as royalty. This
project is already facing time delay and its first unit is to be commissioned by
2001. The length of the tunnel of Nathpa Ihakri is approximately 26 km.
Himachal Pradesh does not have a very well developed irrigation system, however, there
are some irrigation projects, which are now operational in the state:
Shah Nehar project: This is the only major irrigation project in Himachal Pradesh and is
in Kangra district on the river Beas. After fully commissioning the project it will
irrigatel5, 287 hectares of land and about 93 villages will be benefited by the project.
There are some medium and small irrigation projects, which are listed below:
Balh valley project: This project is constructed in Mandi district and utilizes the water of
Baggi channel of Beas Satluj Link project. The existing potential of the Balh valley
project is 2410 hectares.
Bhabour project: Bhabour Sahib project utilizes the water of Nangal dam reservoir and
will irrigate an area of 2640 hectares. The work on phase II of this project is still being
constructed and will irrigate 2440 hectares.
Giri irrigation project: This is in Sinnour district and will irrigate an estimate area of
5263 hectares.
Sidhata project: The Sidhata scheme is situated in Jawali tehsil of Kangra district. The
total irrigation potential of this project will be 3150 hectares.
The following projects are proposed to be brought under irrigation facilities Attri (2000):
1. Bara Solda Nagrota Surian project in Kangra district
2. l-latli Sagrangra Batauha in Mandi district
3. Dhaneta Barsar in Hamirpur district

Tikker dam in Hamirpur district
. Pandol Chauntra project in Mandi district
Mehran Dharwabon in Mandi district
. Rela Bhen-Kher Badhel in Mandi district
. Phina Singh project in Kangra district
9. Bason Garli Glori Shah Talai project in I-Iamirpur district
lO. Sarwari in Kullu district
l 1. Changer area in Bilaspur district
l2. Beet Illaqa project in Una district
13. Churu project in Hamirpur district
14. Sakral project in Hamirpur district
15. Jangle Beri project in Hamirpur district
16. Kandror, Harkhan, Panoh Dajari project in Bilaspur district
Himachal Pradesh is endowed with several important minerals like limestone, high grade
limestone, quartzite, gold, pyrites, copper, rock salt, natural oil and gas, mica, iron ore
etc. Himachal Pradesh is the only state in India where rock salt is mined.
Limestone: Commonly known as Chuna-ka —pathar is one of the most important minerals
used in many industries like cement, calcium carbide, lime, fertilizer, steel, sugar, textiles,
paper and leather. It is available in Gagal (Kangra district) and Barmana (Bilaspur
district). The reserves of these places are estimated to be 150 million tones.
Gypsum: It is found in Kurga and Bharli areas of Sinnour district. About 4 million tones
of reserves are estimated in these areas. Gypsum is also found in varying amounts in
Solan, Chamba, Kimiaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts.
Rock salt: It is being mined in Gumma and Darang areas of Mandi districts.
Friable Quartzites: boulders and pebbles are found in small rivulets of Una district, while
white quartzite is found in Bilaspur district.
Iron ore is found in Kangra, Kullu, Kinnaur, and Mandi districts, Copper in Chamba,
Kullu, Kinnaur, Sirmour, and Lahaul-spiti districts, Pyrites in Shimla and Chamba
districts, Nickel, Cobalt and Silica in Kullu district and antimony is found in Lahaul- spiti
Nearly 232 slate quarries are producing states in Mandi, Chamba, Sirrnour and Kangra
districts, which are used for primarily roofing purpose.
In the mountainous regions, such as I-Iimachal Pradesh, natural resources constitute the
basic support system for life. The rural population depends on forest resources for their
requirements of fodder, fuel wood, timber, herbs and medicinal plants. In many areas,
particularly where much of the population is landless, forest resources are one of few
resources, which are freely available to rural dwellers.

The total geographical area of the state as reported in the village papers was 2906
thousand ha in 1966-67 which increased to 2987 thousand ha in 1979-80. Forests
constitute an important natural resource of the state, which provide timber, fuel, fodder,
wood, etc. The forests contribute 1/3 of the total revenue of the state and also provide
employment to a sizable population.
The forests of the state can be broadly classified into coniferous forests and broad leaved
forests. Distribution of various species follow a fairly regular attitudinal stratification
except where the micro-climate changes due to aspect, exposure and local changes in the
rock and soil brings in vegetation inversion. The vegetation varies from dry scrub forests
at lower altitude to alpine pasture at higher attitude. In between these two extremes,
distinct vegetational Zones of mixed deciduous forests, chir, ban oak, pure or mixed
coniferous and kharsu oak forests are found.
The forests of Himachal Pradesh are rich in biodiversity, forming the conspicuous
vegetation cover. Out of total 45,000 species of plants found in the country, as many as
3,295 species have been reported in the state. The forests of the state can be classified as
reserved, demarcated, unprotected demarcated, unclassed forests based on legal
classification; whereas on attitudinal basis these are named as tower mountain, middle
mountain, temperate and alpine forests.
In Himachal Pradesh, total area under forest is 37,591 km with total growing stock of
10.25 crore m whereas per capita forest area is 0.73 ha. Annual prescribed yield from
forests is 5 57 727 m.
Major timber resources of Himachal Pradesh are conifers viz. Cedrus deodara, Pinus
mxburghi: P wallichiana Picea smithiana Abies pindrow A spectabilis Cupressus
torulosa, Juniperus excelsa and]. sequamata. Among broad leaved species, Shorea
robusta, Quercus leucotricophora, Q. floribunda, Q. dilataza, Aesculus indica, Acer spp.,
Juglans regia, Acacia catechu, Dalbergia sissoo, T oona ciliata, Alnus nepalensis etc. are
important Wood resources. Average annual removal of conifers has been estimated to be
3,59,085 m whereas from broad leaved species, removal is 1,91,89 m The fodder and fuel
wood yielding species are Grewia optiva, Morus alba, Bauhinia variegata, Celtis
australis, bamboos, Albizia chinensis, A. lebbeck and Robinia pseudacacia.
Wood resources have a great bearing on the economy of the state as people are dependent
upon these resources for meeting multifarious demands Major uses of wood are in the
form of firewood, house construction, packaging of the horticultural produce and in
agricultural implements. Annual fuel wood requirement of the state is 32 lac tonnes which
is increasing day by day due to increase in population. The demand for fuel wood in rural
area is usually met by lopping and small twigs collected from common lands including
culturable wastelands and fallows other than current fallows. The increase in demand of
fuel wood is the major cause of deforestation.
The state also has valuable possessions of non wood forest resources. These products
specifically include grasses, fruits, leaves, bark, animal products, soil and minerals.
These also include bamboo, canes, grasses fibers, flosses, essential oils, fixed oils, waxes,

dyes and tans, medicinal plants, gums and resins, drug yield specifies, poisons,
insecticides and miscellaneous forest produce (lac, honey, tandu leaves).
As has been seen above Himachal Pradesh presents a varied climate, topography and
geology resulting into diversified flora. Climate is the main factor which detennines the
composition of the flora of any area. The variety of economically important trees, herbs
and shrubs found naturally growing in three altitudinal belts i.e. (i) lZOO ft to 4000 ft (ii)
4000 ft to 8000 ft and (m) 8000 ft to 11000 ft. The following are the important flora
found in Himachal Pradesh:
Trees: The commonly found trees in Himachal Pradesh are, Akoria (Rhus), Akash bel
(Cusevta refles), Akrot (vugulans regia), Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Bargad (Ficus
benghalensis), Chil (Pinus longifolia), Haldia (Adina cardilolia), Harar (Terminalia
chebule), Kachnar (Bauhinia variegate), Kakare (Pistacia integerrime), Semal (Salmalia
malabarica), Simbal (Bombax malabaricum, Seriphal (Acgle marmelos) and kaiphal
(Myrica nagi) beside several other trees like varios species of pines, fodder trees, acacia
spp. etc.
Shrubs: The commonly found shmbs in Himachal Pradesh are, Bhatindu (Cissampelos
pareira), Dhai (Wooafordiafncticosa), Kamal (Man philippinensis) Kural (Medua helix),
Thuna (T axus baccata) and Tut (Morus alba)
Herbs: Himachal Pradesh is home to various herbs of high economic importance, some of
which are, Bhang (Cannabis sativa), Ritha (Sapindus trifoliayus), Toon (Toona ciliate),
Mehndu (Dodonaca viscas) and Tunga (Rhus cotinus)
Wild life: Amongst the animals the most common wild animals are, Musk deer, Barking
deer, Himalayan Thar, Himalayan ibax, Blue sheep, Snow leopard, Common leopard,
Himalayan black bear, Common palm civet, Ghoral, lndian porcupine, lndian Hare, Red
fox, Indian fox, common langur and Jackal. Amongst the commonly found birds are
Tragopan, Monal, Cheer koklas, Kalij and Snow cock. Amongst the commonly found fish
in the river waters of Himachal Pradesh are, Mrigal, Grass carp, Mirror carp, Beta Kuni,
Rohu, Ticto, Sarena, Gungli, trout and and Mahaseer.
Special emphasis is laid on to develop, protect and scientifically manage the wild life in
protected areas in Himachal Pradesh. The major wild life sanctuaries in Himachal
Pradesh are, Great Himalayan National Park, Kullu district, Bandli sanctuary, Mandi
district, Govind sagar sanctuary, Bilaspur, Kanwar sanctuary, Kullu, manali sanctuary,
Kullu district, Pong dam sanctuary, Kangra district and Shilli sanctuary, solan district.
Special arrangement is made for captive breeding and rehabilitation of endangered
Over the years, the economy of the state has kept pace with the economic environment in
the country as well as across the globe. It registered a growth rate of more than 6.00 per
cent per annum in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) between 1994-95 and 1999-
2000 at constant prices which was higher than the growth rate achieved at the national

level. During the past decade of 90s, structural composition of the state economy has
witnessed significant metamorphosis. The share of primary sector consisting of
agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining & quarrying has declined from 35.1 per cent in
1990-91 to 27.4 per cent in 2000-01. Within primary sector, though the share of
agriculture including horticulture and animal husbandry in GSDP declined from 26.5 per
cent in 1990-91 to 22.5 per cent in 2000-01, yet these activities continue to be the
mainstay of majority of the population as they provide direct sustenance to about 70 per
cent of the working population. On the other hand the contribution of secondary sector
got jacked up from 26.5 to 32.5 per cent during the same period. Within this sector, the
share of electricity, gas and water supply went up from 4.7 to 6.1 per cent. In consonance
with the World economic trends, the share of tertiary sector (i.e. trade, transport,
communications, banking, real estate and business, community and & personal services)
increased from 38.4 per cent in 1990-91 to 40.1 per cent in 2000-01
Table 1. Gross domestic product at factor cost at constant prices
Year Agriculture, Manufacturing, Transport, Banking & Public Gross
mining &
construction, communicatio
electricity, gas n & trade
& water supply
insurance, administratio
real estate & n, defence &
ownership of services
product at
factor cost
1994- 95
1590 (1.2)
1686 (22.4) 625 (9.9)
I 532 (5.9)
81 1 (-2.5)
5244 (9.6)
1622 (2.0)
1s56(10.1) 669 (7.1)
| 535 (0.5)
ss6 (9.3)
5563 (6.2)
1996- 97
1646 (1.5)
20:34 (12.3) 712 (6.5)
| 57s (8.0)
935 (5.5)
5955 (6.9)
1673 (1.6)
2179 (4.5) 791 (10.9)
I 597 (3.3)
6335 (6.4)
1692 (1.2)
2324 (6.6) 867 (9.6)
| 631 (5.7)
1278 (16.6)
6792 (7.2)
1601 (-5.4)
2519 (2.4) | 881(1.6)
| 706 (11.9)
7206 (6.1)
1755 (9.6)
2657 (5.4) | 928 (5.4)
I 717(1.5)
157s (5.3)
7635 (6.0)
Figures within parenthesis are the annual growth rate (%) of gross domestic product at constant prices
(Source: Economic survey 0fHimachal Pradesh, 2002)

Chapter 3
,’ ‘Q – ,
River Beas in Kullu valley River Satluj near Rampur district
Greater Himalayas may not compete with the plain regions for agricultural purposes, but
it is the perennial source of five rivers, which flow through Himachal Pradesh and
provide abtmdance of water to the Indus river basin. Fmther, the rivers in Himachal
Pradesh have slanting flow and so are useful for hydro-electric power generation, the
other unique distinction of Himachal Pradesh is that it provides water both to the Indus
and Ganga basins.
Major Rivers and Tributaries:
i. Yamuna: Yamuna is the eastern- most river of Himachal Pradesh It rises
from “Yamnotri” in Gharwal hills and forms the eastern boundry with Uttar
Pradesh. Its famous tributaries are Tons, Pabar and Giri or Gir Ganga. The Gir
Ganga rises from near “Kupar peak” just above Jubbal town in Shimla
District, Tons from Yamnotri and Pabar from Chandra Nahan lake near the
“Chanshal peak” in Rohru tehsil of Shimla district. It leaves the state near
‘Tajewala’ and enters into the Haryana State. Its total catchment area in
Himachal is 2,320 km.
ii. Satluj: Satluj rises beyond Indian borders in the Southern slopes of the
Kailash Mountain from ‘Mansarovar lake’ (in Tibet) is largest among the five
rivers of Himachal Pradesh. It enters Himachal at “Shipki” (altitude 6,608 m)

and flows in the south-westerly direction through Kinnaur, Shimla, Solan,
Mandi and Bilaspur district. Its course in Himachal Pradesh is 320 km from
“Rakastal”, with famous tributaries viz., the Spiti, the Ropa, the Taiti, the
Kashang, the Mulgaon, the Yola, the Wanger, the Theog and the Rupi as right
bank tributaries, whereas, the Tirong, the Gayanthing, the Baspa, the Duling
and the Soldong are left bank tributaries. It leaves Himachal Pradesh to enter
the plains of Punjab at “Bhakhra”, where Worlds highest gravity dam has been
constructed on this river.
Beas: The world famous “Rohtang Pass” (altitude 3,978 m) is the birth place
of river Beas. It originates from ‘Beas Kund’. Its main tributaries are; the
Parbati, the Spin and the Malwa Nala in the east, and the Solang, the Manalsu,
the Sujoin, the Phojal and the Sarvari streams in the West. In Kangra, it is
joined by Binwa, Neugal, Banganga, Gaj, Dehr and Chakki from North, and
Kunal, Masch, Khairan and ‘Man’ from the south. The Beas enters Kangra
District at Sandhol and leaves it near Moorthal. At Bajaura, it enters Mandi
District. The Northern and Eastem tributaries of the Beas are perennial and
snow fed, while Southern are seasonal. Its flow is maximum during monsoon
months. At Pundoh, in Mandi District, the water of the Beas has been diverted
through a big tunnel to join the Satluj. It flows for 256 km in Himachal
Chenab: Two streams namely ‘Chandra’ and ‘Bhaga’ rise on the opposite side
of the Baralacha Pass (altitude 4,891 m) and meet at Tandi (altitude 2,286 m)
to form the river Chenab. The Chandra rises from the south east and Bhaga
from the north west of the Baralacha Pass. It enter Pangi valley of Chamba
District near “Bhujnal” and leaves the district at ‘Sansari nala’ to enter Podar
valley of Kashmir with its total length of 1,200 km. It has a catchment area of
61,000 sq km out of which 7,500 sq km lie in Himachal Pradesh. It is the
longest river of Himachal Pradesh in tenns of volume of Waters.

River Chenab entering the Pangi valley
(Photo adapted by permission from ‘Travels to highlands of Himanchal’ by K.R. Bharti)
v. Ravi: Ravi rises from ‘Bara
Bhangal’ — a branch of Dhaula
Dhar as a joint stream formed by
the glacier fed Badal and Tant
Guri. The right bank tributaries of
Ravi are the Budhil, Tundaha,
Beljedi, Saho and Siul; and its left
bank tributary is Chirchind nala.
Ravi flows by the foot of
Dalhousie hill, through the famous
Chamba Valley. It has a catchment
area of about 5,451 sq km. As the
Ravi flows down from the heights,
it passes hill sides with terraced
fields. Ravi first flows Westward _ _ 7
through 3 rgparatory in thg ‘Pir River Ravi in Chamba district
Panjal’ from Dhauladhar range and
then turns southward, cutting the deep gorge through the Dhauladhar range. It
flows nearly 130 km in Chamba region, before leaving it finally at Kheri.
The Hirnachal Pradesh has many important lakes and some of these are important
pilgrimage places, these are briefly described below (Attri, 2000):
Suraj T al: This lake is situated on the Baralacha pass and is the source of Bhaga river. It
is situated in Lahaul Spiti district.

Suraj Tal Lake
Chandra T al : It is situated near the Palmo Pass at an elevation of 14, 000 feet above mean
sea level. The length and breadth of this lake is around 1500 meters and 500 metes
respectively. The Water of this lake drains in Chandra River.
T”””!-..ai_’?. ,_-2;…
(Photo adapted by permission from ‘Travels to highlands of Himanchal‘ by K.R. Bharti)

Ghadarsu lake: It is in Chamba district situated at a distance of 25 kilometers from Tissa.
The height of this place is about 11, 500 feet above mean sea level. This is a circular lake
and is about one kilometer in circumference.
Lama Dal lake: This lake is situated at a distance of about 47 kilometers from Chamba
and lies on the inner slope of Dhauladhar range. Its elevation is about 12, 000 feet above
mean sea level. The circumference of this lake is about 2.5 kilometers.
Gobind sagar lake: This is one of the largest manmade reservoir in India. This was made
by impounding the water of Satluj River. The area of the Gobind Sagar lake is about 100
kmz. The Water of this reservoir is used to irrigate thousands of hectares of land in Punjab
and Rajasthan.
Maha Kali dal Lake: This lake is situated in Churah Tehsil of Chamba district.
Mani Mahesh lake: This lake is situated at a height of 13, O00 feet, near the base peak in
Mani Mahesh range commonly called the Mani Mahesh kailash in the Budhil Valley in
Chamba district.
(Photo adapted by permission from ‘Travels to highlands of Himanchal’ by K.R. Bharti)
Kali ka dull : This lake is in Churah Tehsil in Chamba district and is a famous pilgrimage
Parasar lake This lake is situated in Mandi district and is about 31 kilometers from
Mandi town. There is a floating island in the lake.
Rewalsar lake: This lake is situated in Mandi district at a distance of 24 kilometers from
Mandi town. The lake is associated with snake worship and is a famous worship place.
Nako lake: This lake is situated at a height of 2950 meters above mean sea level in
Hangrang valley of Kinnaur district on Hindustan —Tibet road.

Renuka Lake: This lake has a circumference of about 2.4 kilometers and is situated in the
Sirrnour district.
Khajjiar lake: This lake lies in the Chamba and Dalhousie in Chamba district. It is a small
lake and is situated in the oval shaped valley in Khajjiar and is a famous tourist
A glacier is a natural body of large dimension made up of crystalline ice formed on the
earth surface as a result of accumulation of snow. Glaciers are responsible for making the
Himalayan rivers perennial. Himalayan rivers are an important ever renewing source of
fresh water for the millions of people living in the plains of northem and eastern India.
Some of the important glaciers of Himachal Pradesh are (Chauhan 1998):
Bara Shigri: The Bara Shigri glacier is the largest glacier in the Chandra valley of Lahaul
and Spiti district and is difficult to be trekked. It is tenanted in a cirque on the middle
slopes of the main Himalayan range. High mountains cover it from three sides. It is about
3 km wide and 25 km long. The entire tract is devoid of vegetation. The other main
glaciers of Chandra valley In Lahaul are Chhota Shigri, Kulti, Pacha, Tapu, Milang and
Bolunag. The Gyephang glacier is named after the supreme deity of Lahaul valley which
had temple of Shashan.
inrr— –7
Chandra: This glacier is responsible for forming Chandratal lake and has originally
separated from Bara Shigri glacier. It is tenanted in a cirque of the towering peak. It gives
water to form Chandra River which joins Bhaga to form Chenab. Thick deposits of
moraines are found in this tract.
The Lady of Keylong: This glacier is situated at an altitude of about 6061 m which can be
seen from Keylong and is popular among visitors to the valley. It was named by Lady
Elashainghday about a century ago during British period. Although it is always snow
covered, but in the middle of it is seen a dark bare patch that looks like the figure of
women walking with a load on her back.

Bhaga: This glacier is tenanted in an amphitheatre in Lahaul area of the main Himalayan
range. It is the source of Bhaga river Water and later merges with Chandra Waters to form
Chenab after Tandi. It has carved small depressions and pot holes on the valley bottom.
Moraines have been found along the flanks and the tongue of this glacier.
Sonapanii This glacier was sun/eyed by Walker and Pascoe in 1906. It is only five and a
half kilometer from the confluence of Kulti Nala
Perad: The perad glacier is a small easily accessible near Putinini, which in local dialect
means brken rock, that has a nice cave too.
Mukkila and Miyar: Mukkila and Miyar glaciers located in the Lahaul area are about 12
kilometer in length and these pour water in Bhaga and Miyar rivulets, respectively. These
are situated at a height of about 6478 m.
Trilokinath: The glacier is visible from Trilokinath temple area and drains Water towards
Chenab river.
_\ ‘as; ~
»:_,;‘ ‘

i ҤI~\.
A Conglomerate of Glaciers draining in Chenab river, small glacial lakes are visible in the foreground
(Photo by KM. Bhagat)
Beas Kund: This glacier is located on the south facing slopes of the towering Pir Panjal
range near the conspicuous Rohtang Pass in Manali region of Himachal Pradesh. This
glacier is tenanted in a cirque on the upper reach near the summit of the high peaks of Pir
Panjal range. Alpine and sub Alpine meadows come up in the cirque of this glacier during
Chandra Nahan: This glacier is located in a small amphitheatre on the south-eastern
slopes of the main Himalayan range in the area north west of Rohru in Himachal Pradesh.
The glacier feeds Pabbar river — a tributary of the river Tons. This glacier is encroached
by towering peaks at an altitude of about 6000 m. The Chandra Nahan glacier bears both
recent and old glacial debris which includes huge boulders. It has fonned striations on the
valley floor. It can be approached via Rohru area in Shimla district.
Some of the glaciers in the Satluj basin are Gara, Gor Gorang, Shaune Gorang and Nagpo

Himachal Pradesh can broadly be divided into three Zones for rainfall purposes (Attri,
2000). These are Himalayas, inner Himalayas and Alpine zone. Annual average rainfall
varies from 1500 mm to 1750 mm in the first zone and from 750 to 1000 mm in the
second zone. The alpine zone above 11000 ft remains snow bound for about five to six
months in a year. The general climate remains intensely cold during winter in the alpine
zone, but turns cool during May to September period. In the state there are four seasons
during the year namely winter, pre monsoon, monsoon and post monsoon. The winter
season extends from January to February, pre-monsoon from March to May, monsoon
from June to September and post monsoon from October to December. As in other parts
of country, nearly half of the total rainfall is received during monsoon season, spread over
June to September and the remaining precipitation is distributed among other seasons.
The highest rainfall is received in Kangra district and the lowest in Lahaul and Spiti
Rainfall Observation
Trend analaysis of the annual rainfall for the last 25 years in different districts of
Himachal Pradesh indicated an increase of 33.5, 54.3 and 515 per cent rainfall in Kinnaur,
Chanmba and Lahaul Spiti districts. However, the rain fall increase in Mandi (21.4 %),
Kullu (21.8 %), Kangra (27.7 %) and (Una 66 %) whereas Shimla Sirmour and Solan
showed decrease in rainfall by 8.7, 13.3 and 26.6 per cent, respectively. Not much
change was observed in District Hamirpur (Anonymous, 2001). The annual assured
rainfall (100 % chance) in Kinnaur, Una and Hamirpur is = 500 mm, in Solan District =
600 mm in Shimla = 700, in Bilaspur = 800 in Mandi, Sirmour and Chamba = 1000 and
in Kangra District = 1200.

The temperature in Himachal Pradesh varies according to the altitudinal variability i.e.
from very hot in the l0W- lying areas to zero and even sub-zero at highest altitudes (figure
3.1). The low winter temperature starts increasing by the end of February, and becomes
highest in the month of June — the hottest month of the year. It is also true that even
summer is comparatively milder in the mid hill areas than in the plains. With the onset of
monsoons, the temperature starts falling until December-January which are the colder
months. However, the period between 15″‘ December and 15“ February is the coldest
period in the state. At many places in the higher altitude areas the temperature falls even
to sub-Zero levels (figure 3.2).

Altitudinal Agroclimatic Zones
Climatic Agricultural Adaptations
5000 m
4750 m
4500 m
4250 m
4000 m
3750 m
3500 m
3250 m
3000 m
2750 m
Alpine Meadows (herbs, lichens and mosses)
Elfin scrub
Small millets, barley, apple, sheep farming
2500 m
2250 m
2000 m
1750 m
Wheat, barley, rice, potato, apple, pear
Cherry, walnut, etc.
1500 m
Wheat, barley, rice, maize, potato,
ginger, peach, pear, plum, apricot,
1250 m
Almond etc,
1000 m
750 m
500 m
Wheat, barley, rice,
maize, vegetables etc
250 m
Figure 3.1 Altitudinal agroclimatic Zones of Westem Himalaya
(adopted from Singh and Dhillon, 1995)

Figure 3.2 Normal Annual Rainfall in Himachal Pradcsh

Climatic stations of Himachal Pradesh are spread all over the state. They measure daily
rainfall, daily maximum and minimum temperature and relative humidity. Average
annual rainfall data collected from 54 meterological station covering the entire state of
Himachal Pradesh is presented in Table 3.1
Table 3.1 The average annual rainfall of Himachal Pradesh (Average 0f 20-25 years)
District Latitude Longitude Awlage Annual
Rainfall (mm)
Pong Dam
Baj aura
Lahaul- Spiti
Lahaul- Spiti
Lahaul- Spiti

37 Kotkhai
38 Rampur
39 Jubbal
40 Kumarsain
41 Rohru
42 IARI — Shimla
43 Pachhad
44 Nahan
45 Renuka
46 Dhaulakuan
47 Paonta Sahib
48 Kasauli
49 Nalagarh
50 Arki
5 1 Kandaghat
52 Solan
53 Una
54 Bangana
Source: Bhagat et al. 2004
With the help of interpolation on the above rainfall data, different zones of rainfall were
generated or the entire state of Himachal Pradesh in the following Figure 3.3 (Bhagat et
al 2004).
100 0 100
0 0
ND Kilci nu
I Mfiiflfllfli
Z rinamalhaduh
1 new-n – 59.:
cane – an av:
E 214.:-1: – 1:» an
noun -anus‘
nus :1: -flsosov
Q nausea -20.15.92
1 103592 -2111212
-z . mu
UII4 2 2 44
2156 su 42:11 I56
\’.”% E
Fig. 3.3 Raifall zones for Himachal Pradesh (Bhagat et al. 2004).

Chapter 4
Materials and Methods
The basic materials required for the compilation of an inventory of glaciers and glacial
lakes are large-scale topographic maps and aerial photographs. Remote sensing data like
those from the Indian Remote Sensing satellite series lD (IRSID) Linear Imaging and
Self Scanning Sensor (LISSS), and the Systeme Probatoire Pour l’Obsen/ation de la Terre
(SPOT) multispectral (XS) for different dates are also used to study the activity of
glaciers and for the identification of potentially dangerous glacial lakes. The combination
of digital satellite data and the digital elevation model (DEM) of the area is also used for
better and more accurate results for the inventory of glaciers and glacial lakes.
Glaciers and glacial lakes are mostly concentrated in the north-eastern part of Himachal
Pradesh. The spatial distribution of glaciers and glacial lakes was identified from
topographic maps and verified by satellite images for the activity of the glaciers and
glacial lakes. The topographic maps used were published by sun/ey of India in the period
from the l960s-1970s on a scale of l :50,000.
The coordinate system parameters for the maps of the Himachal are as follows:
~ Projection: Albers Equal Area Conic
~ Ellipsoid: WGS 84
– Datum: WGS 1984
~ False easting: 0.0000000
– False northing: 0.0000000
‘ Central meridian: 82° 30’E
– Central parallel: 0° 0’ N
– Latitude of first parallel 20° N
‘ Latitude of second parallel 35° N
Altogether 110 topographic map sheets cover the whole of Himachal (Figure 4.1). The
maps required for the study of the glaciers and glacial lakes fall within 60 sheets (Table
4.1). The topographic maps of the same scale i.e. l:50,000 for some of the glacier and
glacial lake area were not available however; maps of the larger scales (1:250,000) did
serve the purpose to some extent. The digital topographic map (ARC digitized Raster
Graphics (ADRG) published in January I996 by the National Imagery and Mapping
Agency (NIMA) and Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) of the U.S. Govemment at the
scale of l :500,000 with same projection parameter as mentioned above are used in the
geo-reference of the satellite images and DEM generation.

76°E 77°E 78°E 79°E
Figure 4.1: Index map for the 1:50,000 scale topographic maps of Himachal Pradesh

Table 4.1: List of topographic maps of Himaclial Pradesh
Grid number Sheet No. Remarks
43P 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 Available original map
44M 13 and 14 sheets (1:50,000)
52C 8,12 and 16
52D 1, 2 and 9
52H 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 and 16
52L 2,3,4, and 8
53A 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 and 16
53B 9 and 13
53E l,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,l l,12,13,14,15 and 16
53F 1,2,3, 5,6,7,9,1O,11,13,14, and 15
531 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, 12 and 16
43 P Available original map
44M sheets (1:250,000)
52 G
I 53F I I
Aerial photographs of Himachal Pradesh were not available for the present study.
The satellite images ofIRS1D LISS3 and SPOT as given below were also acquired.
IRSID LISS3 images
Due to time constraints and relative costs in acquiring cloud free data, instead of
LANDSAT TM, IRS1D LISS3 images of 1999-2000 with least cloud cover were
acquired. Seven scenes cover all the northem parts and the glaciated area of Himachal
(Table 4.2). The images acquired are given in Table 4.2.
Table 4.2: IRS] D LISS3 satellite images ofHimachal Pradcsh
S. No. Path
1 | 094
19 October 1999
| 095
19 September 1999
| O94
19 October 2001
| 095
06 October 2000
| 096
O3 October 2001
| 095
06 October 2000
| 096
03 October 2000

SPOT images
Spot images of Himachal Pradesh were not available for the present study..
The methodology for the mapping and inventory of the glaciers is similar to the inventory
of glaciers and glacial lakes carried out in Nepal and Bhutan by M001 et. al, 2001 and
based on instructions for compilation and assemblage of data for the World Glacier
Inventory (WGI), developed by the Temporary Technical Secretary (TTS) at the Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (Muller et al. 1977) and the methodology for the
inventory of glacial lakes is based on that developed by the Lanzhou Institute of
Glaciology and Geocryology, the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, and the
Nepal Electricity Authority (LIGG/WECS/NEA 1988). The inventory of glaciers and
glacial lakes has been systematically carried out for the drainage basins on the basis of
topographic maps and satellite images. Topographic maps on a scale of l:50,000
published by the Survey of India during the period from the 1960s to the 1990s are used.
The following sections describe how the compilation of the inventories for both the
glaciers and glacial lakes have been carried out.
4.4.1 Inventory 0f glaciers
The glacier margins on each map are delineated and compared with satellite images, and
the exact boundaries between glaciers and seasonal snow cover are determined. The
coding system is based on the subordinate relation and direction of river progression
according to the World Glacier Inventory. The description of attributes for the inventory
of glaciers are as given below:
Numbering of glaciers
The lettering and numbering start from the mouth of the major stream and proceed
clockwise round the basin. The inventory of glaciers is carried out throughout the major
and minor river basins of Himachal Pradesh.
Registration of snow and ice masses
All perennial snow and ice masses are registered in the inventory. Measurements of
glacier dimensions are made with respect to the carefully delineated drainage area for
each ‘ice stream’. Tributaries are included in main streams when they are not
differentiated from one another. If no flow takes place between separate parts of a
continuous ice mass, they are treated as separate units.
Delineation of visible ice, firn, and snow from rock and debris surfaces for an individual
glacier does affect various inventory measurements. Marginal and terminal moraines are
also included if they contain ice. The ‘inactive’ ice apron, which is frequently found
above the head of the valley glacier, is regarded as part of the valley glacier. Perennial
snow patches of large enough size are also included.

Snow line
In the present study, the snow line specially refers to the fim line of a glacier, not the
equilibrium line. The elevation of the fim line of most glaciers was not measured directly
but estimated by indirect methods. For the regular valley and cirque glaciers from
topographical maps, Hoss’s method (i.e. studying changes in the shape of the contour
lines from convex in the ablation area to concave in the accumulation area) was used to
assess the snow line.
Accuracy rating table
The accuracy rating table proposed by Muller et al. 1977 on the basis of actual
measurements (Table 4.3) is used in the present study.
Table 4.3 Accuracy rating adopted form Mullcr ct al. (1977)
Index Area/length (%) Altitude (m) Depth (%)
1 0-5 0-25 0-5
2 5-10 25-50 5-10
3 10-15 50-100 10-20
4 15-25 100-200 20-30
5 > 25 > 200 | > 30
For the snow line an error range of 50-100 m in altitude is entered as an accuracy rating
of ‘3’. In the glacier inventory, different methods or a combination of methods are usually
chosen for comparison with aerial photographs in order to assess the elevation of the firn
line for different forms of glacier.
Mean glacier thickness and ice reserves
There are no measurements of glacial ice thickness for the Himachal Himalayas.
Measurements of glacial ice thickness in the Tianslnn Mountains, China, show that the
glacial thickness increases with the increase of its area (LIGG/WECS/NEA 1988). The
relationship between ice thickness (H) and glacial area (F) was obtained there as
H =-11.32 + 53.21F°”3
This formula has been used to estimate the mean ice thickness in the glacier inventory of
the Arun and Bhote- Sunkoshi Basins of Nepal. The same method is also used here to find
the ice thickness. The ice reserves are estimated by mean ice thickness multiplied by the
glacial area.
Muller et al. 1977 roughly estimated the ice thickness values for Khumbu Valley in Nepal
using the relationship between glacier type, fonn, and area (see Table 4.4). This method
was used by WECS to calculate the thickness values for Rolwaling Valley in Nepal. The
same method can also be used for the glaciers of the Himachal Himalaya.
According to Muller et al. 1977, mean depth can be estimated with the appropriate model
developed for each area by local investigators. For example, the following model was

used for the Swiss Alps where is the mean depth, F is the total surface area, and a and b
are arbitrary parameters that are empirically determined.
Table 4.4 Relationship bet\veen glacier type, form, area and depth given by Muller et
Glacier Type Form Area (k ) Depth (m)
1-10 50
20-50 100
50-100 120
1-5 30
5- 10 60
Compound basins 10-20 80
20-50 120
50-100 120
1-5 40
Simple basins 5-10 75
10-20 100
0-1 20
1-2 30
Mountain Glacier Cirque 2-5 50
5- 10 90
I 10-20 | 120 |
Compound basin
Valley Glacier
The measured depth is shown on the data sheet only if the depths of large parts of the
glacier bed are known from literature and field measurements.
Area of the glacier
The area of the glacier is divided into accumulation area and ablation area (the area below
the firn line). The area is given in square kilometers. The delineated glacier area is
digitized in the integrated land and water information systems’ (ILWIS) format and the
database is used to calculate the total area.
Length of the glacier
The length of the glacier is divided into three columns: total length, length of ablation and
the mean length. The total (maximum) length refers to the longest distance of the glacier
along the centre line. The mean value of maximum lengths of glacier tributaries (or fim
basins) is the mean length.
Mean width
The mean width is calculated by dividing the total area (kmz) by the mean length (km).

Orientation of the glacier
The orientation of accumulation and ablation areas is represented in eight cardinal
directions (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, and NW). Some of the glaciers are capping just in
the form of an apron on the peak, which is inert and sloping in all directions, is
represented as ‘open’. The orientations of both the areas (accumulation and ablation) are
the same for most of the glaciers.
Elevation of the glacier
Glacier elevation is divided into highest elevation (the highest elevation of the crown of
the glacier), mean elevation (the arithmetic mean value of the highest glacier elevation
and the lowest glacier elevation), and lowest elevation (elevation of the glacier tongue).
Morphological classification
The morphological matrix-type classification and description is used in the study. It was
proposed by Muller et al. 1977 for the TTS to the WGI. Each glacier is coded as a six-
digit number, the six digits being the vertical columns of Table 4.5. The individual
numbers for each digit (horizontal row numbers) must be read on the left-hand side. This
scheme is a simple key for the classification of all types of glaciers all over the world.
Each glacier can be written as a six-digit number following Table 4.8. For example,
‘520110’ represents ‘5’ for a valley glacier in the primary classification, ‘2’ for
compound basins in Digit 2, ‘O’ for normal or miscellaneous in frontal characteristics in
Digit 3, ‘l’ for even or regular in longitudinal profile in Digit 4, ‘ 1 ’ for snow and/or drift
snow in the major source of nourishment in Digit 5, and 0 for uncertain tongue activity in
Digit 6.
Table 4.5: Classification and description of glaciers
Digit 1 Digit 2 Digit 3 Digit 4 Digit 5 Digit 6
Primary Form Frontal Longitudinal Maj or source Activity of
classification characteristic profile of tongue
0 Uncertain or Uncertain or Nonnal or Uncertain or Uncertain or Uncertain
miscellaneous miscellaneous miscellaneous miscellaneous miscellaneous
1 Continental Compound Piedmont Even: regular Snow and/or Marked
ice sheet basins drift snow retreat
2 Ice field Compound Expanded Hanging Avalanche Slight
basin foot and/or snow retreat
3 Ice cap Simple basins Lobed Cascading Superimposed Stationary

Outlet glacier Cirque Calving Ice fall
Valley glacier Niche Confluent Interrupted
Mountain Crater
Glacieret and Ice apron
snow field
ce shelf Group Oscillating
Rock glacier
The details for the glacier morphological code values according to TTS are explained
Digit 1 Primary classification
Miscellaneous: Any not listed.
Continental ice sheet: Inundates areas of continental size.
Ice field: More or less horizontal ice mass of sheet or blanket type of a thickness
not sufficient to obscure the sub-surface topography. It varies in size from features
just larger than glacierets to those of continental size.
Ice cap: Dome-shaped ice mass with radial flow.
Outlet glacier: Drains an ice field or ice cap, usually of valley glacier form; the
catchment area may not be clearly delineated (Figure 4.2a).
Valley glacier: Flows down a valley; the catchment area is in most cases well
Mountain glacier: Any shape, sometimes similar to a valley glacier, but much
smaller; frequently located in a cirque or niche.
Glacieret and snowfield: A glacieret is a small ice mass of indefinite shape in
hollows, river beds, and on protected slopes developed from snow drifting,
avalanching and/or especially heavy accumulation in certain years; usually no
marked flow pattern ‘5 visible, no clear distinction from the snowfield is possible,
and it exists for at least two consecutive summers.
Ice shelf: A floating ice sheet of considerable thickness attached to a coast,
nourished by glacier(s), with snow accumulation on its surface or bottom freezing
(Figure 4.2b).
Rock glacier: A glacier-shaped mass of angular rock either with interstitial ice,
firn, and snow or covering the remnants of a glacier, moving slowly downslope. If
in doubt about the ice content, the frequently present surface fim fields should be
classified as ‘glacieret and snowfield’.

,(\T 77/,‘\ /Z ,/Z74
é ///
/ ¢ //// / //
Figure 4.2a: Outlet Figure 4.2b: Ice shelf
1. Compound basins: Two or more tributaries of a valley glacier, coalescing
(Figure 4.3a).
2. Compound basin: Two or more accumulation basins feeding one glacier (Figure
3. Simple basin: Single accumulation area (Figure 4.3c).
4. Cirque: Occupies a separate, rounded, steep-walled recess on a mountain (Figure
5. Niche: Small glacier formed in initially a V-shaped gully or depression on a
mountain slope (Figure 4.3-e).
6. Crater: Occurring in and /or on a volcanic crater.
7. Ice apron: An irregular, usually thin ice mass plastered along a mountain slope.
8. Group: A number of similar ice masses occurring in close proximity and too
small to be assessed individually.
9. Remnant: An inactive, usually small ice mass left by a receding glacier.
Figure 4.3a: Compound basins Figure 4.3b: Compound basin Figure 4.30: Simple basin

Xx F
Digit 3 Frontal characteristics
l. Piedmont: Ice field fonned on low land with the lateral expansion of one or the
coalescence of several glaciers (Figure 4.4 a and b).
2. Expanded foot: Lobe or fan of ice fonned Where the lower portion of the glacier
leaves the confining wall of a valley and extends on to a less restricted and more
level surface. Lateral expansion markedly less than for Piedmont (Figure 4.4c).
3. L0bed: Tongue-like form of an ice field or ice cap (see Figure 4.4d).
4. Calving: Terminus of glacier sufficiently extending into sea or occasionally lake
water to produce icebergs.
5. Confluent: Glaciers whose tongues come together and flow in parallel Without
coalescing (Figure 4.4e).
V / V \ \l
> r ‘
. —’ \
~ A“ wot’; I I
\ / ’
//// 4
d t Figure 4.4b: Piedmont Figure 4.44:: Expanded
Figure 4.4a: Pie mon
Figure 4.4d: Lobed Figure 4.4e: Confluent
\\ \ \ ‘

Digit 4 Longitudinal profile
1. Even /regular: Includes the regular or slightly irregular and stepped longitudinal
2. Hanging: Perched on a steep mountain slope, or in some cases issuing from a
steep hanging valley.
3. Cascading: Descending in a series of marked steps with some crevasses and
4. Ice fall: A glacier with a considerable drop in the longitudinal profile at one point
causing a heavily broken surface.
5. Interrupted: Glacier that breaks off over a cliff and reconstitutes below.
Digit 5 Major source of nourishment
The sources of nourishment could be uncertain or miscellaneous (0), snow and/or drift
snow (1), avalanche and/or snow (2), or superimposed ice (3) as indicated in Table 4.8.
Digit 6 Activity of tongue
A simple-point qualitative statement regarding advance or retreat of the glacier tongue in
recent years, if made for all glaciers on Earth, would provide the most useful information.
The assessment of an individual glacier (strongly or slightly advancing or retreating etc)
should be made in terms of the world picture and not just that of the local area; however,
it seems very difficult to establish the quantitative basis for the assessment of the tongue
activity. A change of frontal position of up to 20 m per year might be classed as ‘slight’
advance or retreat. If the frontal change takes place at a greater rate it would be called
‘marked’. Very strong advances or surges might shift the glacier front by more than 500
m per year. Digit 6 expresses qualitatively the annual tongue activity. If observations are
not available on an annual basis then an average annual activity is given.
Moraines: Two digits to be given.
Digit 1: Moraines in contact with present-day glacier.
Digit 2: Moraines further downstream.
no moraines
. terminal moraine
. lateral and/or medial moraine
. push moraine
combination of 1 and 2
. combination of 1 and 3
combination of 2 and 3
. combination of l, 2, and 3
. debris, uncertain if morainic
. moraines, type uncertain or not listed.
Remarks: The remarks can, for instance, consist of the following infonnation.

0 Critical comments on any of the parameters listed on the data sheet (e. g. how
close is the snow line to the fim line, comparison of year concerned with other
0 Special glacier types and glacier characteristics which, because of the nature of the
classification scheme, are not described in sufficient detail (e.g. ‘melt structures’,
glacier-dammed lakes).
0 Additional parameters of special interest to the basins concerned (e.g. area of
altitudinal zones, inclination etc).
0 It is often useful to divide the snow line into several sections (because of different
exposition or nourishment). In such cases, the snow line data of each section can
be recorded separately.
I Literature on the glacier concemed.
0 Any other remarks
The inventory database form (see AI11’1€XLlfC I) used for compilation of the inventory of
glaciers includes map/satellite codes, aerial photographs, and basin numbers, as Well as
the glacier parameters described above.
4.4.2 Inventory of glacial lakes
The attributes used for the present inventory and their details are given in the lake
inventory form (Annexure II). Similar lake inventories were done in the Pumqu (Arun)
and Poiqu (Bhote/Sunkoshi) Basins in Tibet (China) by LIGG/WECS/NEA 1988.
The permanent snow line in the northern belt of the Himalayas is higher than 4,000 masl.
All the glacial lake boundaries are demarcated in the topographic maps.
Changes in climatic conditions have had an impact on the high mountain glacial
environment. Many of the big glaciers have melted rapidly and given birth to a large
number of glacial lakes. Due to the rapid rate of ice and snow melt, possibly caused by
global Warming, the accumulation of water in these lakes has been increasing rapidly. The
isolated lakes above 3,500 masl are assumed to be remnants of the glacial lakes left due to
the retreat of the glaciers.
The glacial lake inventory has been systematically compiled for the drainage basins on
the basis of topographic maps and satellite images.
Brief descriptions of major attributes for the lake inventory are given below.
Numbering of glacial lakes
The numbering of lakes starts from the outlet of the major stream and proceeds clockwise
round the basin.
Longitude and latitude
Reference longitude and latitude are designated for the approximate centre of the glacial

The area of the glacial lake is determined from the digital database after digitisation of the
lake from the topographic maps and satellite images.
The length is measured along the long axis of the lake, and estimated to one decimal
place in km units (0.1 km).
The width is normally calculated by dividing the area by the length of the lake, down to
one decimal place in km units (0.1 km).
The depth is measured along the axis of the cross section of the lake. On the basis of the
depth along the cross section the average depth and maximum depth are estimated. The
data are collected from the literature.
The drainage direction of the glacial lake is specified as one of eight cardinal directions
(N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, and NW). For a closed glacial lake, the orientation is specified
according to the direction of its longer axis.
The altitude is registered by the Water surface level of the lake in masl.
Classification of lakes
Genetically glacial lakes can be divided into the following.
0 Glacial erosion lakes, including cirque lakes, trough valley lakes, and erosion
0 Moraine-dammed lakes, including end moraine lakes and lateral moraine lakes.
I Blocking lakes fonned through glaciers and other factors, including the main
glacier blocking the branch valley, the glacier branch blocking the main valley,
and the lakes formed through snow avalanche, collapse, and debris flow blockade.
0 Ice surface and sub- glacial lakes.
In the glacial lake inventory, end moraine-dammed lakes, lateral moraine lakes, trough
valley lakes, glacial erosion lakes, and cirque lakes are represented by the letters M, L, V,
E, and C respectively; B represents blocking lakes.

A ctivitfy
According to their stability, the glacial lakes are divided into three types: stable, potential
danger, and outburst (when there have been previous bursts). The letters S, D, and O
represent these types respectively.
Types of water drainage
Glacial lakes are divided into drainage lakes and closed lakes according to the drainage
pattem. The former refers to lakes from which water flows to the river and joins the river
system. In the latter, water does not flow into the river. Ds and Cs represent those two
kinds of glacial lakes respectively.
Chemical properties
This attribute is represented by the degree of mineralization of the water, mg T1.
Other indices
One important index for evaluating the stability of a glacial lake is its contact relation
with the glacier. S0 an item of distance from the upper edge of the lake to the terminus of
the glacier has been added and the code of the corresponding glacier registered. Since an
end moraine-dammed lake is related to its originating glacier, this index is only referred
to end moraine dammed lakes. As not enough field data exist, the average depth of glacial
lakes is difficult to establish in most cases. Based on field data, and as an indication only,
the average depth of a glacial lake formed by different causes can be roughly estimated as
follows: cirque lake, l0 m; lateral moraine lake, 30m; trough valley lake, 25m; blocking
lake and glacier erosion lake, 40m; lateral moraine lake, 20m. The water reserves of
different types of glacial lakes can be obtained by multiplying their average depth by their
area (LIGG/WECS/NEA 1988).
The inventory database form (see Annexure ll) used for compilation of the inventory of
glacial lakes includes map/satellite image codes, aerial photographs, and basin numbers,
as well as the lake parameters (attributes) described above.

Chapter 5
Spatial Data Input and
Attribute Data Handling
One of the main objectives of the present study is to develop a digital database of glaciers
and glacial lakes using geographic infonnation systems (GIS). A digital database is
necessary for the monitoring of glaciers and glacial lakes and to identify the potentially
dangerous lakes. GIS is the most appropriate tool for spatial data input and attribute data
handling. It is a computer-based system that provides the following four sets of
capabilities to handle geo-referenced data: data input, data management (data storage and
retrieval), data manipulation and analysis, and data output can be found in Arnoff (1989).
Any spatial features of the Earth’s surface are represented in GIS by the following:
0 Area/polygons: features which occupy a certain area, e.g. glacier units, lake units,
land use units, geological units etc;
Q Lines/segments: linear features, e.g. drainage lines, contour lines, boundaries of
glaciers and lakes etc; and
0 Points: points define the discrete locations of geographic features, the areas of
which are too small to illustrate as Lines or polygons, e. g. mountain peaks or
discrete elevation points, sampling points for field observations, identification
points for polygon features, centres of glaciers and lakes etc, and attribute data
refer to the properties of spatial entities.
The spatial entities described above can be represented in digital form by two data
models: vector or raster models. In a vector model the position of each spatial feature is
defined by a series of X and Y coordinates. Besides the location, the meaning of the
feature is given by a ‘code’. In a raster model, spatial data are organized in grid cells or
pixels, a term derived for a picture element. Pixels are the basic units for which
information is explicitly recorded. Each pixel is assigned only one value.
For the present study, integrated land and water information system (ILWIS) 3.1 for
Windows is used for the spatial and attribute database development and analysis. ILWIS
for Windows is an object oriented image processing and geographic information system.
Analysis and modeling in a GIS requires input of relevant data. The topographic maps of
the l960 (republished 1970) on a scale of l:50,000 published by the Survey of India were
used as the baseline for the spatial data of glaciers and glacial lakes. The list of
topographic maps used for the study is given in Chapter 4. Delineation of all the glaciers
and glacial lakes was done on the topographic maps. All the glaciers and glacial lakes
were numbered and their attributes were noted. The details of the methodology for the
delineation and attributes are also given in Chapter 4.
The most common method of entering spatial data is by manual digitizing using a
digitizers board. Before starting digitization one should know the map projection system.
Map projection defines the relationship between the map coordinates and the geographic
coordinates (latitude and longitude). Himachal Pradesh is situated between 30° 15‘ to 33“

15° 0‘ E longitude and 75° 45’ to 79° 0’ N latitude. The coordinate system parameters for
Himachal Pradesh are as follows.
– Projection: Albers Equal Area Conic
– Ellipsoidz WGS 84
– Datum: WGS 1984
‘ False easting: 0.0000000
~ False northing: 0.0000000
‘ Central meridian: 82° 30’E
~ Central parallel: 0° 0’ N
‘ Latitude of first parallel 20° N
~ Latitude of second parallel 35° N
The minimum and maximum X and Y values required in the above geo-reference system
in the Himachal area falling in Grid Zone ll B are:
‘ Min X,Y: —646838.500, 3298325500
I Max X,Y: -328038.500, 3623225500
It is always necessary to maintain the details, smoothness, and accuracy of the input
spatial data of all the required information as in the maps of the given map scale. They are
defined by the snap and tunnel tolerances in the system. The snap and tunnel tolerances in
the system are defined by the extent of the minimum and maximum X and Y values. To
increase the detail and accuracy, the coordinate system with the required X and Y extents
for each one degree area was created to digitize all the topographic maps. These sub-
coordinate systems were very useful and made the input and handling of the data easy.
After the delineation of the glaciers, glacial lakes, and ridges on the maps the segments
were digitized using the following codes.
= lake boundary
= glacier boundary
= ridge line
5 = basin or international boundary
10 = dry lake
1 1 I drainage line
12 = lake attached to glacier common boundary
20 = rock glacier boundary only
23 = glacier attached to ridge line common boundary
25 = glacier attached to basin boundary common boundary
100 = tic points reference lines
The segment code values are necessary for data retrieval and analysis in GIS. All the
polygons representing glaciers and glacial lakes are numbered as mentioned in Chapter 4.
Points showing the location of glaciers and glacial lakes were digitized. They were used
later for identification of the polygons of the glaciers and glacial lakes. After digitization,
the segments were checked and the glaciers and glacial lakes were numbered using point
identifiers. Basin-wise polygon maps of glaciers and glacial lakes are presented in
Chapters 7 and 8.

In an object oriented GIS, polygon maps with identifier domains of the objects have a
related attribute table with the same domain. The domain defines the possible contents of
a map, a table, or a column in a table (attribute). Some examples of ‘domain’ are class
domain (a list of class names), value domain (measured, calculated, or interpolated
values), image domain (reflectance values in a satellite image or scanned aerial
photograph), identifier domain (a unique code for each item in the map), string domain
(columns in a table that contain text), bit domain (value 0 and l), bool domain (yes or no)
etc. An attribute table is linked to a map through its domain. An attribute table can only
be linked to maps with a class or identifier domain. An attribute table may contain several
Required attributes of the glaciers and glacial lakes as explained in Chapter 4 were
derived or entered in the attribute database in the GIS. Most of the attributes were derived
from the topographic maps, aerial photographs, satellite images, reports, field data, etc.
Attributes such as area, location (latitude, longitude) etc were derived from the spatial
database. If other necessary digital spatial data layers, such as digital elevation models
(DEM), are available, it is possible to generate terrain parameters such as elevation, slope,
length etc as measuring units for glaciers and glacial lakes. Other attributes such as
aspect, mean length, elevation, map code, name, etc, were manually entered in the
attribute database. Additional attributes, such as mean elevation, volume etc were derived
using logical calculations. For each basin, attribute tables were developed for glaciers and
glacial lakes. Some of the attributes were also derived from the results of an aggregation
in the same table or from another table using the table joining operations, such as glaciers
associated with the glacial lakes, etc.
The criteria for the identification of potentially dangerous glacial lakes are explained in
Chapter ll. Using the logical calculation in the GIS, the potentially dangerous glacial
lakes were detennined. To study the geomorphic characteristics of these potentially
dangerous lakes, the available time- series satellite images and topographic maps were
also used.

Chapter 6
Application of Remote Sensing
Glaciers and glacial lakes are generally located in remote areas, Where access is through
tough and difficult terrain. The study of glaciers and glacial lakes, as well as carrying out
glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) inventories and field investigations using conventional
methods, requires, extensive time and resources together with undergoing hardship in the
field. Creating inventories and monitoring of the glaciers, glacial lakes, and extent of
GLOF impact downstream can be done quickly and correctly using satellite images and
aerial photographs. Use of these images and photographs for the evaluation of physical
conditions of the area provides greater accuracy. The multi- stage approach using remotely
sensed data and field investigation increases the ability and accuracy of the work. Visual
and digital image analysis techniques integrated with techniques of geographic
information systems (GIS) are very useful for the study of glaciers, glacial lakes, and
At first the inventory and evaluation of the glaciers, glacial lakes, and GLOFs were
carried out based on topographic maps. The topographic maps of the higher terrain, which
houses glaciers and glacial lakes, are not as reliable as those of hills and lowland areas.
As a complementary data and tool, various remote sensing techniques and satellite images
were used.
Remote sensing is the science and art of acquiring information (spectral, spatial,
temporal) about material objects, areas, or phenomena through the analysis of data
acquired by a device from measurements made at a distance, without coming into
physical contact with the objects, area, or phenomena under investigation.
Remote sensing technology makes use of the wide range of the electro- magnetic spectrum
(EMS). Most of the commercially available remote-sensing data are acquired in the
visible, infrared, and microwave wavelength portion of the EMS. For the present study,
the data acquired within the visible and infrared wavelength ranges were used.
There are different types of commercial satellite data available. Digital data sets of the
Land Observation Satellite (LANDSAT) Thematic Mapper (TM) and Indian Remote
Sensing Satellite Series lD (lRSlD) Linear lmaging and Self Scanning Sensor (LlSS)3
were used mostly for the present study. Some data sets of Systeme Probatoire Pour
l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT) Multi- Spectral (XS) and SPOT Panchromatic (PAN)
were also used. The list of the images relevant to the present study are given in Chapter 4.
A scene of a LANDSAT TM image gives the synoptic view of an area of 185 km by 170
km of the Eal1h’s surface sensed by the American LANDSAT satellite from an altitude of
705 km. There are seven spectral bands of electromagnetic spectrum in LANDSAT TM
data, ranging from the blue to far infrared wave length and four bands in LISS 3. The
individual bands of LANDSAT TM are 0.45-0.52, 0.53-0.60, 0.62 -0.69, 0.78-0.90,
1.57-1.78, and 2.10-2.35 um with the spatial resolution of 30m in the visible, near
infrared and middle infrared bands, and 10.45-11.66 um in the far infrared band with

120m resolution. Some of the potential applications of different spectral bands of
LANDSAT TM are given in Table 6.1. The TM sensors greatly facilitate the multi-
temporal data availability (repeated coverage of 16 days) for studying the temporal
changes of glaciers, lakes, and other features.
The SPOT series of French satellites and recent series of IRS satellites have more
advantages for the study of glaciers, glacial lakes, and GLOFs due to their stereo data
acquisition capacity (i26° off nadir viewing capability of the system) and higher spatial
resolutions of 6 (IRSIC/IRSID PAN data) to lOm (SPOT PAN data).
Table 6.1: pectral band ranges ( um) used in TM on board LANDSAT‘s 4 and 5 sensor system
and their potential applications
Band Band range Potential applications
number (um)
l 0.45-0.52
Coastal water mapping; soil/vegetation differentiation;
deciduous/coniferous differentiation (sensitive to chlorophyll
concentration) etc
|Green reflectance by healthy vegetation etc
|Chlorophyll absorption for plant species‘ differentiation
|Biomass surveys; water body delineation
Vegetation moisture measurement; snow/cloud differentiation;
snow/ice quality study
6 l0.4~l2.5
Plant heat stress management; other thermal mapping; soil moisture
7 2.08—2.35
Hydro-thennal mapping; discrimination of mineral and rock types;
snow/cloud differentiation; snow/ice quality study
Satellite system
Optical sensor
(Launch dates)
(1982 LANDSAT-4)
(1985 LANDSAT -5)
(1982 LANDSAT-4)
(1984 LANDSAt-5)
(1999 LANDSAT -7)
(1986 SPOT-1)
(1990 SPOT-2)
(1993 SPOT-3)
(1999 SPOT-4)
Table 6.2: Some optical sensor system characteristics ofEaltl1 resources satellites used in the
‘ Y
(1997 IRS-1 D)
Sensor altitude
LANDSAT 1,2,3 =
900 km
LANDSAT 4, 5:705
705 km
832 km
| Spatial resolution
| 20m
|24m |
Temporal resolution
(revisit cycle in days)
20 (nadir)
24 (nadir)
Radiometric resolution
(bits per pixel)
6-bit (scaled to 7 or 8-
bit during ground
Swath width
185 km
scene area I 185*170
185 km
scene area I 185*170
60 km
141 km
Off-nadir viewing (side-
look) capability for
PAN mode for stereo
image data acquisition
(i26° off-nadir viewing)
(10 m resolution)
0.51-0.73 um
3 days revisit
(6 m resolution)
(70 km swath
0.50—0.70 um
3 days revisit
Spectral resolution
(number ofbands)
4 7 3

LISS3 sensors on board IRSIC/D satellites provide multi- spectral data collected in four
bands of VNIR (visible and the near infrared) and SWIR (short wave infrared) regions
(Tables 6.2 and 6.3). LISS3 images cover an area of 124 by 141 km for the VNIR bands
(B2, B3, B4) and 133 by 148 km for the SWIR band (B5) sensed from an altitude of817
km (IRSIC) to 780 km (IRSID) with repetitive coverage of 25 days. The spatial
resolution of VNIR bands is 24m and that of SWIR is 71m. the mosaic of satellite images
of different bands of IRSIC LISS3 1D of Himachal Pradesh area is given in Figure 6.1
Table 6.3: Wavelength ranges of the optical sensor system of Earth resources satellites used in
the )resent stud I‘.
| Blue
|0.45_0.52 pm (B1)
0.5(»0.60 pm
(Chl or B4)
0.53—0.61 pm (B2)
0.5<»0.59 m (XS1)
0.52—0.59 pm (B2)
0.6(%0.70 um
(Ch2 or B5)
0.62—0.e9 pm (B3)
0.62—0.6s pm
0.62_0.6s pm (B3)
0.7(%0.80 um
(C113 or B6)
0.7s_0.9o |J.n’1(B4) pm
0.77_0.s6 pm (B4)
0.8(%l.l0 um
(Ch4 or B7)
| 1.57-1.78 um (B5)
1.55415 |J.Il’1(B5)
|2.1t>2.35 um (B7)
104541.66 pm
The spatial resolution of LISS3 of the IRS satellite series and XS of
the SPOT satellite
series are greater than that of LANDSAT TM. With a greater number of spectral bands
and spatial resolution of 30 by 30m close to the former two data types, cloud free
LANDSAT TM data are equally good for the inventory and evaluation of glaciers, glacial
lakes, and GLOFs in the medium scale (l:l00,000 to l:25,000).
When electro- magnetic energy is incident on any given Earth surface feature, three
fundamental energy interactions with the feature are possible. Various fractions of energy
incident on the element are reflected, absorbed, and/or transmitted. All components of
incident, reflected, absorbed, and/or transmitted energy are a function of the Wavelength
The proportions of energy reflected, absorbed, and transmitted vary for different Earth


Figure 6.1 Different spectral bands 0fIRS1D LISS3 of Himachal Pradesh region

features, depending on their material types and conditions. These differences permit us to
distinguish different features on an image. Thus, two features may be distinguishable in
one spectral range and may be very different on another wavelength band. Within the
visible portion of the spectrum, these spectral variations result in the visual effect called
colour. For example, blue objects reflect highly in the blue portion of the spectrum,
likewise green reflects highly in the ‘green’ spectral region, and so on. Thus, the eye uses
spectral variations in the magnitude of reflected energy to discriminate between various
Satellite data are digital records of the spectral reflectance of the Earth’s surface features.
These digital values of spectral reflectance are used for image processing and image
interpretations. A graph of the spectral reflectance of an object as a function of
wavelength is called a spectral reflectance curve. The configuration of spectral reflectance
curves provides insight into the characteristics of an object and has a strong influence on
the choice of wavelength region(s) in which remote-sensing data are acquired for a
particular application.
Figure 6.2 shows the typical spectral reflectance curves for three basic types of Earth
feature: green vegetation, soil, and water. The lines in this figure represent average
reflectance curves compiled by measuring large sample features. It should be noted how
distinctive the curves are for each feature. In general, the configuration of these curves is
an indicator of the type and condition of the features to which they apply. Although the
reflectance of individual features may vary considerably above and below the average,
these curves demonstrate some fundamental points concerning spectral reflectance.
– – – — Clear River Water
—– Turbid River Water
i Vegetation
5° “‘ – Silty Clay Soil
—— Muck Soil
Percent Reflectance
8 8
.?” . ,
__’_;-&/ \.– — ‘.1
/’ ii
I’ / § ‘ —-— -_ 2 ii —-
IO -. ‘\\ 4 — .-— I” } -‘
.-2:1,?” \
O I \ i I 1 I | | I I I
.4 .6 .8 LO l.2 1.4 I5 L8 Z0 2.2 2.4 2.6
Wavelength (micrometres)
Figure 6.2: Typical spectral reflectance curves for vegetation, soil, and water
(after Swain and Davis 1979)
Spectral reflectance curves for vegetation almost always manifest the ‘peak-and-valley’
configuration (Figure 6.2). Valleys in the different parts of the spectral reflectance curve
are the result of the absorption of energy due to plants, leaves, pigments, and chlorophyll
content at 0.45 and 0.67 um wavelength bands and water content at 1.4, 1.9, and 2.7 pm
wavelength bands. In near infrared spectrum wavelength bands ranging from about 0.7—

1.3 pm, plants reflect 40-50% of energy incident upon them. The reflectance is due to
plant leaf structure and is highly variable among plant species, which permits
discrimination between species. Different plant species reflect differently in different
portions of wavelength.
The soil curve in Figure 6.2 shows considerably less peak-and-valley variation in
reflectance. This is because the factors that influence soil reflectance act over less specific
spectral bands. Some of the factors affecting soil reflectance are moisture content, soil
texture (proportion of sand, silt, and clay), surface roughness, presence of iron oxide, and
organic matter content. These factors are complex, variable, and inter-related. For
example, the presence of moisture in soil will decrease its reflectance. As with vegetation,
this effect is greatest in the water absorption bands at about 1.4, 1.9, and 2.7 um (clay
soils also have hydroxyl absorption bands at about 1.4 and 2.2 pm). Soil moisture content
is strongly related to soil texture; coarse and sandy soils are usually well drained,
resulting in low moisture content and relatively high reflectance; poorly drained and fine-
textured soils will generally have lower reflectance. In the absence of water, however, the
soil may exhibit the reverse tendency, that is, coarse-textured soils may appear darker
than fine-textured soils. Thus, the reflectance properties of soil are consistent only within
a particular range of conditions. Two other factors that reduce soil reflectance are surface
roughness and organic matter content. Soil reflectance normally decreases when surface
roughness and organic matter content increases. The presence of iron oxide in soil also
significantly decreases reflectance, at least in the visible wavelengths. In any case, it is
essential that the analyst be familiar with the existing conditions.
When considering the spectral reflectance of water, probably the most distinctive
characteristic is the energy absorption at near infrared wavelengths. Water absorbs energy
in these wavelengths, whether considering water features per se (such as lakes and
streams) or water contained in vegetation or soil. Locating and delineating water bodies
with remote-sensing data are carried out easily in near infrared wavelengths because of
this absorption property. However, various conditions of Water bodies manifest
themselves primarily in visible wavelengths. The energy/matter interactions at these
wavelengths are very complex and depend on a number of inter-related factors. For
example, the reflectance from a water body can stem from an interaction with the water
surface (specula reflection), with material suspended in the water, or with the bottom of
the water body. Even in deep water where bottom effects are negligible, the reflectance
properties of a water body are not only a function of the water per se but also of the
material in the water.
Clear water absorbs relatively little energy with wavelengths of less than about 0.6 um.
High transmittance typifies these wavelengths with a maximum in the blue- green portion
of the spectrum. However, as the turbidity of water changes (because of the presence of
organic or inorganic materials), transmittance, and therefore reflectance, changes
dramatically. This is true in the case of water bodies in the same geographic area. Spectral
reflectance increases as the turbidity of water increases. Likewise, the reflectance of water
depends on the concentration of chlorophyll. Increases in chlorophyll concentration tend
to decrease water reflectance in blue wavelengths and increase it in green wavelengths.
Many important water characteristics, such as dissolved oxygen concentration, pH, and
salt concentration, cannot be observed directly through changes in water reflectance.
However, such parameters sometimes correlate with observed reflectance. In short, there

are many complex inter-relationships between the spectral reflectance of water and its
particular characteristics. One must use appropriate reference data to correctly interpret
reflectance measurements made over water.
Snow and ice are the frozen state of water. Early work with satellite data indicated that
snow and ice could not be reliably mapped because of the similarity in spectral response
between snow and clouds due to limitations in the then available data set. Today satellite
remote sensing systems’ data are available in more spectral bands (e.g. LANDSAT TM in
seven bands). It is now possible to differentiate snow and cloud easily in the middle
infrared portion of the spectrum, particularly in the 1.55-1.75 and 2. l(P2.35 um
Wavelength bands (bands 5 and 7 of LANDSAT TM). As shown in Figure 6.3, in these
wavelengths, the clouds have a very high reflectance and appear white on the image,
while the snow has a very low reflectance and appears black on the image. In the visible,
near infrared, and thermal infrared bands, spectral discrimination between snow and
clouds is not possible, while in the middle infrared it is. The reflectance of snow is
_ 1- I K /A
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i~§3\“‘I~. i . i “~\.;-‘ ” \=\\ 2* \l~~. m-<I\\>,,
Y\ “\\ “272:-~__ L-’ ‘. J \ i ‘<‘;_Q -‘ \
\;;\ -~@
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\§§$;\ -\?M J 4%’
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Figure 643: Spectral reflectance characteristics in terms ofpixel value based on a September 22, 1992 Landsat
TM seven-band data set ofthe Tama Koshi and Dudh Koshi areas ofNepal.
Red Iines—cIean glaciers and fresh snow (A); Black |ines—clouds (B);
Green lines—recent debris from GLOFs (C); Maroon lines—debris covered glacier (D);
Blue lines4clean/melted (E) and silty and/or partly frozen water (lake) (F)
generally very high in the visible portions and decreases throughout the reflective infrared
portions of the spectrum. The reflectance of old snow and ice is always lower than that of
fresh snow and clean/fresh glacier in all the visible and reflective infrared portions of the
spectrum. Compared to clean glacier and snow (fresh as well as old), debris covered

glacier and very old/dirty snow have much lower reflectance in the visible portions of the
spectrum and higher in the middle infrared portions of spectrum.
To identify the individual glaciers and glacial lakes, different image enhancement
techniques are useful. However, complemented by the visual interpretation method
(visual pattern recognition), with the knowledge and experience of the terrain conditions,
glacier and glacial lake inventories and monitoring can be done. With different spectral
band combinations in false colour composite (FCC) and in individual spectral bands,
glaciers and glacial lakes can be identified and studied using the knowledge of image
interpretation keys: colour, tone, texture, pattern, association, shape, shadow etc.
Combinations of different bands can be used to prepare FCC. Different colour composite
images highlight different land-cover features.
Figure 6.4 shows colour composite images R3G4B2 (red to band 3, green to band 4, blue
to band 2) and R4G3B2 of an IRS1D LISS3 of 19 September 1999 to 19 October 2001 of
the Himachal Pradesh. ln the colour composite images of Figure 6.4 one can identify
different types of land cover, glaciers and glacial lakes. The Figmre 6.5 is the FCC of
R5G3B2 and FCC of R5G4B3 of Himachal Pradesh of date 19 September 1999 to 19
October 2001. These type of FCC are useful to identify the rock types and different types
of landsforrns. Colours in the colour composite images and tones in the individual band
images are the outcome of the reflectance values. Glaciers appear white (in individual
bands and colour composite) to light blue (in colour composite) colour of variable sizes,
with linear and regular shape having fine to medium texture, whereas, in the thermal
band, they appear grey to black. The distinct linear and dendritic pattern associated with
slopes and valley floors of the high mountains covered with seasonal snow can be
distinguished in the glaciers in the mountains.
The lake water in colour composite images ranges in appearance from light blue to blue
to black. In the case of frozen lakes, it appears white. Sizes are generally small, having
circular, semi- circular, or elongated shapes with very fine texture and are generally
associated with glaciers in the case of high lying areas, or rivers in the case of low lying
areas. In general, erosion lakes and some cirque lakes are not necessarily associated with
glaciers or rivers at present. The debris flow path along the drainage channel gives a
white to light grey and bright tone. The sample FCC of the subset of study area is given in
Figure 6.6, in which one can easily identify the fresh snow, glacier ice, debris cover
glacier, glacial lake, river valley etc.
For glacier and glacial lake identification from satellite images, the images should be with
least snow cover and cloud free. Least snow cover in the Himalayas occurs generally in
the summer season (MayLSeptember). But during this season, monsoon clouds will block
the views. If snow precipitation is late in the year, winter images are also suitable except
for the problem of long relief shadows in the high mountain regions. For the present
study, most of the images are of the winter season under conditions of least seasonal snow
cover and cloud free.
Knowledge of the physical characteristics of the glaciers, lakes, and their associated
features is always necessary for the interpretation of the images. For example, the end

Figure 6.4 False Color Composite (FCC) of different spectral bands 0fIRSlD LISS3 of
Himachal Pradesh region

Figure 6.5 False Color Composite (FCC) of different spectral bands of IRSID
LISS3 of Himachal Pradesh region

moraine damming the lake may range from a regular curved shape to a semi-circular
crescent shape. The fiozen lake and glacier ice field may have the same reflectance, but
the frozen lake always has a level surface and is generally situated in the ablation areas of
glaciers or at the toe of the glacier tongue, and there is greater possibility of association
with drainage features downstream.
Figure 6.6 False color composite (FCC) of Red (5) Green(4) Blue(3) indicating Fresh snow (A), glacier
Ice (B), Debris covered Glacier (C) and Glacial Lake (D). Subset of the study area of IRS lD LI SS3
The technique of digital image analysis facilitates image enhancement and spectral
classification of the ground features and, hence, greatly helps in the study of glaciers and
lakes. Monitoring of the lakes and glaciers can be done visually as Well as digitally. In
both the visual interpretation and digital leature extraction techniques, the analyst’s
experience and adequate field knowledge are necessary. The satellite images have to be
geometrically rectified based on the appropriate geo-reference system and cell sizes. The
same geo-reference system is required for the integration and analysis of the remote
sensing satellite data in the GIS database. The image resolutions and geo-reference
system should be the same for better results.
Coarse spatial resolution images have limitations when distinguishing smaller lakes and
small stream paths. However, such small objects will show up in the coarse spatial
resolution images averaged with reflectance values of their surrounding objects.
The technique of integrating remote sensing data with GIS does help a lot with
identification and monitoring of lakes and glaciers. The DEM of an area generated either
using stereo satellite images, aerial photographs, or digitisation of topographic map data
can play a big role in deciding the rules for discrimination of features and land cover
types in GIS techniques and for better perspective viewing and presentations (Figure 6.7).
DEM itself can be used to create various data sets of the area (e.g. slope, aspect). For
example, even though glacial lakes are covered by snow, the lake surfaces are flat, and
glaciers, snow, and ice create slope angles. In this case, decision rules for integrated
analysis in GIS can be assigned, that is, if the slope is not too pronounced and the texture

smooth, then such areas are recognised as frozen glacial lakes. DEM generated from
satellite images, aerial photographs, or topographic maps should be compatible with and
of reliable quality to other data sets. The satellite images or orthophotos can be draped
over the DEM for interpretation or presentation. Figures 6.8 and 6.9 show some examples
of the use of DEM draped by satellite images.
ii I T Q’ ‘ ‘F 1,
Y “if?-»-_ :35‘4′;’5 Y»;-i:’>‘;”*’?
i 1, ;”_‘_’\1’f’,T-(-R , “; __) ‘;v_ ‘gin . _ ;
\,.,‘ 1.1,; 4? ,3 ;7_€§‘\ Y‘ xg oi}! F3.
7 – ‘ ._ \ > ~1._; ‘ ,’;;»“.‘
3- 1. ‘1 =. _ -* V ~¥““ > &~;<~;~-=2*:i€i»~»
,>-§\’;, .~»\-\ t
?1>}<w_*.;‘>!~ v‘. ‘- ‘it

“I~1q;:_\_. ‘ ‘
IN»; 1
» _

t 1;‘
Figure 6.7 DEM ofl-limaclial Pradesh generated from the digitization of topographic maps
Figure 6.8 IRSID LISS 3 RSGSB2 drapped over the DEM ofl-limachal Pradesh

Based on different criteria, actively retreating glaciers and potentially dangerous lakes can
be detennined using the developed spatial and attribute database complemented by multi-
temporal remote-sensing data sets. Once the activity of glaciers and the potentially
dangerous status of lakes are detennined, the use of medium- to large-scale aerial
photographs provides the best tool for detailed geomorphic studies and other evaluation.
The photograph image characteristics, shape, shadow, tone, colour, texture, pattern, and
relation to surrounding objects were used for aerial photo interpretation. Geomorphic
features and processes of the area are very distinctive in their appearance on aerial
photographs. Physical parameters of glaciers, glacial lakes, and associated moraines can
easily be estimated by stereoscopic viewing.
Figure 6.9 IRSlD LISS 3 R5G4B3 drapped over the DEM ofHimachal Pradesh

Chapter 7
Inventory of Glaciers
The inventory of glaciers has been based on topographic maps and satellite images.
Glaciers were digitized on the satellite image and the identification, classification, and
detennination of stages of glaciers was accomplished by referring topographic maps of
the glaciated regions of Himachal Pradesh. The spatial inventory is based entirely on
topographic maps on a scale of l: 50,000 published in the 1960s to 1970s by the Su.rvey
of India. All the projection parameters of the topographic maps are incorporated in the
images to make the prints compatible with the topographic maps.
For the inventory of glaciers, the area is divided into major rivers basins. The aerial
extension of the glaciers is found with the help of geographic infonnation systems (GIS).
To estimate the ice reserves, it is an utmost necessity to have the mean thickness of the
glaciers. Since the mean glacier thickness data are not available, this is estimated from the
equation developed for the Tianshan Mountains (Chaohai Liu and Liangfu 1986)
H = _1 1.32 + 53.21F°’3
Where H = mean ice thickness (m) and F = area of glacier (kmz)
The ice reserves were estimated by multiplying the mean thickness by the area of the
The classification of glaciers is adopted from the morphological classification of glaciers
by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) (Muller et al. 1977). Details of the
classification are mentioned in Chapter 4. The classified glaciers are divided into different
types, combining Digit l of ‘primary classification’ and Digit 2 of ‘fonn’. Generally,
seven types of glacier are observed in the Himachal Pradesh – mountain glaciers,
mountain basin glacier, valley glaciers, cirque glaciers, niche glaciers, ice caps, and ice
aprons. Mountain glaciers are dominant in quantity and the profile shows a hanging
nature. Other glaciers, except for valley glaciers, generally fall into the category of
mountain glaciers but the thickness of ice is comparatively low. The number of valley
glaciers is comparatively low but the corresponding areas and ice reserves are higher than
those of mountain glaciers. The area and ice reserves of the valley glaciers are generally
large owing to the fact that the ice thickness increases with increase in the area of the
Mountain glaciers are uncertain or miscellaneous, compound basins, compound basin, or
simple basin in the form of a hanging glacier. The major source of nourishment is snow
and/or drift snow. Ice caps, cirque glaciers, niche glaciers, and ice aprons are other types

of hanging mountain glaciers, but they are considered to be a different type due to their
significance in size, shape, fonn, and ice thickness. The most significant valley type
glaciers are fewer in number and characterised by compound basins, compound basin,
and simple basin. They are mainly nourished by snow and drift snow at the headwater and
by snow and ice avalanche at the lower valley. The adjoining part of the valley glacier at
the headwaters is characteristically a mountain glacier, but due to its continuation into a
valley glacier, the whole ice mass will be considered to be a valley glacier. Hence, the
area of the valley glacier is higher than that of the mountain glaciers.
The longitudinal profile of the valley glacier from crown to toe shows an even or regular
shape. As the headwater is steeper and has a gentle slope in the lower reaches, the profile
makes the curve concave upwards. Due to the gentle slope at the lower reaches and the
accumulation of debris derived from the headwater, glacial lakes develop in a supra
glacial and moraine dammed form. Generally, the stability of glacial lakes is poor and
there is always the chance of avalanches from mountain glaciers, which may break the
darnming material and cause glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF s).
The occurrence of glaciers has always been linked to climatic conditions. Climate is of
fundamental ll’I‘lpOl’TZll‘lC€ to the inception and growth of glaciers. The form of the
landscape dictates the threshold conditions for glacier occurrence and detennines glacier
morphology. In certain climatic conditions for glaciation, glaciers of different shapes and
sizes are fomied depending on the landscape. Mountain glacier regions are associated
with climatic fronts, zones of maximum precipitation.
The general characteristics of glaciation in Himachal Pradesh are not well studied.
To create a comprehensive inventory and GIS database of glaciers present in the state, the
state boundary of Himachal Pradesh was divided in to four major river basins viz., Beas,
Ravi, Satluj and Chenab and four more sub-basins which are not covered under these
major river coverages. All the basins contained a significant number of glaciers. Basin
wise distribution of glaciers including their number, area constituted and Ice reserve is
shown in Table 7.1.
Table 7.1. Distribution of glaciers in Himachal Pradesh.
S.No. Basin Glacier Number Area (km2) Ice reserve (km)
1 I Beas 352
2 I Ravi 192
235.21 I
3 I Chenab 621
1704.7 I
4 I Satlllj 945
5 | Sub basin 1 (Tsarap Chu 250
163.33 I
6 I Sub basin 2 (Taklingla) 55
32.04 I
7 I Sub basin 3 (Bhagirathi) 43
43.06 I
8 | Sub basin 4 (Pabbar) 24
6.36 I
I Total 2554
41150.58 I

The majority of the glaciers in Himachal Pradesh fall into the primary classification of
mountain glaciers with simple basins With their major source of recharge being from
snow or avalarnhes with a marked rate of retreat. Glaciers in this region generally occur
above the elevation of 4,000 masl. It has been estimated that there are 2554 glaciers
altogether inventoried within the territory of Himachal Pradesh, covering an area of
4160.58 sq. km with an ice reserves of387.35 km} (Table 7.1 and Figure 7.1). The
highest number of glaciers lies in Satluj n’ver basin and the lowest number of glaciers in
the sub basin 4 (Pabbar). The details of the glacier inventory for all the sub-basins are
given in Annex.
¢ 4%

‘-98-: V g
_ \»€’-05’
= Fééiiw at ‘-
\\ ” ..
— Glaciers k ‘
°° “ gi::i:sA-rgas-52160.58 $
Fig. 7.1 Inventory of Glaciers in Himachal Pradesh.

7.4.1 Beas River Basin
The western part of Himachal Pradesh is occupied by the Beas river basin. It lies between
31°24’ N – 32° 36’ N latitude and 75° 36’ E -77°.52’ E longitude. The Beas river
network comprises Parbati, Binwa, Neugal, Banganga, Gaj, Dehr and Chakki Kunal,
Masch, Khairan rivers. The main river flows from east to west. Glaciers are confined to
the extreme north eastern part of the basin.
The Beas river basin has a total of 358 glaciers and covers an area of 758.18 sq. krn with
ice reserves of 76.42 km3 (Table 7.2). The two largest glaciers in the basin are Beas_gr
128 and Beas_gr 230. Both of them are valley glaciers and have area coverage of 63.18
and 65.68 sq. km, respectively. Glacier Beas_gr 128 is 18.3 km long and Beas_gr 230 is
16.3 km (Figure 7.2).
The highest numbers of glaciers is distributed in the southern aspect, whereas the lowest
number of glaciers are distributed in the east and west aspects (Table 7.2).
Table 7.1 Summary ofglzieiers in the Beas basin with respect to aspect.
Aspect E N NE NW S SE SW W
Number of glacier 25 I 52 I 44 I 58 I as I 34 49 I 2s
Area(km‘) 19.02I 129.5xI 77.46I 132.04I 143.99I 40.12 112.seI 103.11
Area(%) 2.5I 17.1 I 10.2 I 17.4I 19I 5.3 14.9I 13.6
MaXimumArea(km2) 2.21] 65.6sI 15.5xI 2s.62I 63.1sI 6.57 43.53I 41.7
MinimumArea(kmZ) 0.0sI 0.06I 0.12I 0.06I 0.05I 0.07 o.05I 0.07
Maximumlength(m) 3094I 5024I 9165I s730I 7931I 4708 7735I 3788
MinimumLength(m) 455] 24sI 337I 350I 222I 292 279I 438
lcereserve(km‘l) 0.s4I 15.11I 5.ssI 11.17I 16.72I 2.25 11.s2I 12.61
7% 15% 0 BE
flu’ N
14% 16% 3E
There are seven types of glacier in the Beas basin—Cirque, Ice-apron, Ice cap, Mountain,
Mountain basin and Valley glaciers. The mountain type of glaciers is predominant in
number as 134 out of 281 total are the mountain glaciers followed by mountain basins
(105). However, 12 valley glaciers in the basin constitute 48 per cent of the total area and

70.2 per cent of the total ice reserves (Table 7.3). The least of the area is covered by ice
caps (0.2 %) and cirques (0.3 %).
Table 7.3 Distribution ofglaciers by type in Beas basin
Number Area
lce reserve
Glacier Type Count % km % largest
of of
2 3
smallest km
Cirque 3.4 I 2.49 I 0.3 I 0.61 I
0.05 I 0.06 I 0.1
IceApron 60 16.2I 41.47I 5.5I 3.91I
0.07 I 1.76 I 2.3
166 Cap 9 2.5 I 1.32 I 0.2 I 0.36 I
0.05 I 0.03 I 0
Mountain 134 37.4 I 156.43 I 20.6 I 8.44 I
0.05 I 8.61 I 11.3
Mountain basin 105 29.3 I 126.22 I 24.6 I 15.2 I
0.16 I 12.15 I 15.9
Niche 26 7.3 I 5.41 I 0.7 I 0.69 I
0.05 I 0.13 I 0.2
Valleyglacier 12 3.4I 364.24I 4sI 65.6xI
9.23 I 53.67 I 70.2
‘ \
, ., \ ,_
‘»__/ .;;
.- /.~
.’ 1 .
1., –
\ l\ .1 ‘ ‘\ I-
__ 1 t 1_ _ ‘
r” . 1 _ . I
‘.. I. _ ‘ – .
—’/ ‘ $.’
.’ -’
.1 E
‘\ w ‘ —\
.\ __-, < T‘/. ”
. . __,
l A l__:><*~’T’
K J)\ Y
_,\.’\ , ‘W.
/ __ ,.»
Basin Qoundavy
i _ \
Figure 7,2 Glaciers and Glacial lakes ofBeas basin.
Toll! Glaziers — SIB
Total Lllrsi -74
Total Glacier Aron — 755.18
4; Total Luke Ann – 238.20 sq.lm|
7.4.2 Ravi River Basin
,/_1 4?
.”.’/J’,-._,~ Q ‘-I ‘I
‘ J ‘ ’ l ;
; __ ., g i,_fi_.
I I / I 1
f I \ I ‘ I 1 ‘l ‘.1‘l
\ ‘ I
, 1 -. I _
\ <.. _1 _ .
\ I _/.» ..
»-‘/’ . :.~
1 .
1 ‘ “‘..Li.?~. W»
_- _ _,’ _ ‘ J‘ – 1
. -?;’“_\_’;1_ ll “I I
ii ‘T: ‘ll’
._ __. ___I_ \
.\_ _’
The Ravi river basin extend from 32° 13’ N to 33° 03’ N latitude to 75° 46’ E to 77° 01’ E
longitude. It is the smallest of Himachal’s four major river basi
ns. The Ravi basin
comprises of 198 glaciers. The total area covered by these glaciers is 235.21 sq. km with
an ice reserve of l6.75 krn3. The distribution of glaciers in this
7 .3.
basin is shown in Figure

The maximum number of glaciers is found to be either oriented towards South (43)
followed by North West (31) and North east (29) (Table 7.4). The largest glacier, Ravi_gr
121, has an area of 18.65 sq. km and is located at 32° 25′ 15.27″ N latitude, and
77° 00′ 10.61” E longitude.
Table 7.-l Sululuary ofglzicicrs in the Ravi basin with respect to aspect.
Aspect S SE SW W
Number ofglacier 43 | s 32 | 15
Area(km2) 3.97] 17.36| 13.33| 64.02 19,01| 4192 s5.00| 27.61
Area(%) 1.7| 7.4| 5.7| 27.2 s.1| 2.1 36.1| 11.7
MaximumArea(kml) 1161| 2.30| 2.62| 18.16 2,21| 2.30 1s,65| 10136
MinimumArea(kmZ) 0105| 0103| 0.04| 0104 0,01| 0107 010e| 0108
MaXimumlength(m) 4335| 323e| 71s4| 8247 9412| 5972 s941| 7597
MinimumLength(m) 231| 314| 224| 181 16s| 433 1s4| 251
Icereserve(km3) 0114] 0173| 0.53| 5123 0,74| 0.22 4193| 2105
D 14% DE
7”’ 157
“Z; _\ 0 N
;— 1:|NE
16% 15% |iSE
21% EIW


Y‘ = +
____ V…
1” \
, 1
1 _~ .
.. ,1,
I ~ ,
‘I /1
1 K
1: I l’\\
. 1/ – /-
\ .- ‘ ~ ‘1 .»I.
I .1 V. »-»- ‘/ _.
\ I 1 I .
_ Tun! Lilli -17
Yllfll Olncler Area — 2lI.Z1 !‘.|\|lI
_.’ _ \
. 1 I
, ._ >__, ).— V“
-…..,..r-\.~ 1 , \ /
I _ I 9
luau luualuly
.- .1.
Figure 7.3 Glaciers and lakes of Ravi basin.
._ ‘ __
J– ~. .9 ~ 1 1 7
. C 7 .
. \ . I I
/ * , . L
._, \~\
_ Total Llkc Area — 9.16 n|.km
The glaciers in the Ravi river basin are classified mainly into mountain and mountain
basin glaciers, out of which mountain glaciers are dominant in tenns of number. There are
98 mountain glaciers and 39 mountain basin glaciers (Table 7.5, Figure 7.3). Of the total
ice reserves in the basin the mountain glaciers and mountain basin contain 29.77 and
43.98% respectively (Table 7.5). Only 7 valley glaciers are present in the Ravi basin.
Table 7.5 Distribution ofglacicrs by type in Ravi basin
Area Ice r
Glacier Type
I 1.92
I 0.84 I 0.04
I 0.04
I 0.24
Ice Apron
I 7.76
I 3.30 I 0.01
I 0.33
I 1.97
Ice Cap
I 0.69
I 0.29 I 0.06
I 0.01
I 0.07
I 70.02
I 29.77 I 0.03
I 3.52
I 20.82
Mountain basin
I 103.44
I 43.98 I 0.21
I 8.57
I 50.75
I 3.11
I 1.32 I 0.04
I 0.08
I 0.46
Valley glacie
I 42.22
I 20.50 I 4.61
I 7.34
I 10.49
I 4.34
I 25.69
7.4.3 Chenab River Basin
The Chandra and the Bhaga rivers are the main drainage lines of Chenab basin. After
their, confluence at Tandi, their combined waters constitute the Chandrabhaga or the
Chenab river. It has a catchment area of 61,000 sq km out of which 7,500 sq km lie in

Himachal Pradesh. It is the longest river of Himachal Pradesh in tenns of volume of
waters. The river is fed by numerous glaciers distributed throughout the basin.
As many as 681 glaciers have been identified which feed Chenab river (Figure 7.4). They
cover an area of 1704.70 sq. km and an ice reserve of 187.66 km3 (Table 1). The basin
has also the credit of possessing the largest glacier of the state. The largest glacier, Bara
Shigri glacier (Che nab_gr 585), is located at the south eastem end of the basin at latitude
32° 14′ 58.83″ N and longitude 77° 36‘ 52.l3” E. It is valley glacier about 34.24 km in
length, constitutes an area of 180.26 sq. km and ice reserve of 43.53 km}. There is another
gigantic glacier (Chenab_gr 467) about 24 km long, swathe an area of 106.07 sq km and
ice reserves of21.58 km3 (Figure 7.4).
The most dominant aspects of the glaciers are northeast followed by south and northwest.
The west aspect glaciers are fewest in number (Table 7.6). Northeastern and
northwestem aspects of glaciers collectively signify about 52 per cent of the glaciers.
Table 7.6 Summary ofglaciers 111 the Chenab basin with respect to aspect.
AS11991 E N NE NW s SE SW W
Number of glacier 65 78 121 I 92I 103 1 I 80 I 89
Area (kmz) 98.03 153.67 423.1 I 439.24I 149.85 2.19 I 18e.87I 174.77
Area (%) 24.8I 25.8I 8.8 0.1 I 11 I 10.3
Max. Area (rm?) 20.32 27.89 30.11I 180.2eI 24.43 2.19I 106.07I 35.9
Mm .Area (kmz) 003 0.03 0.02I 0.03 I 0.03 2.19 I 0.03 I 0.05
Max. length (m) 0835.3 15758.7 12494.7I 34237.2I 8790.9 1885.1 I 24003 I 9833.1
Min.Length(m) 171.8 253 288.9I 201.8I 251 1885.1 I 191.1 I 338.3
lee reserve (kms) 7.93 12.05 40.38I 66.71 I 11.95 0.12 I 26.88 I 15.80
~ u-
O 11% DE
10/8 $1M N
14% SE
12% 0% 15%

,__ ,~ +
. I .,, ,- 4
k .7 L‘) k.\__g
.- _1_ __ ‘ – ,i-_ ei‘ _‘~.”‘1‘
I_‘_ _ ‘5i’_ \ / Tolal Glacier: – BI1
.5?‘-_ T ‘J. TotnILal1u – 33
‘ ‘2’“ ‘.\. Total Glacier Area – 1704.1 sq.lun
I \-1’
_.~-‘ 4 ““; __yg ~”” _ ,4 ;“_f”~’i I .; Tolal Lake Ana -$.19 =q.>ini
1 J: \_ _) .1 I7 .1 _v/
“’7 ” ‘ V.-’ .1 ._l-T1‘ – …\_’\(“l,.‘: ,
Ii“ ‘
. ‘ $
– ~’r
:_ /~
r, _,~ .
N __,
F’ A ‘
\i 12‘ ___
*’ \\_-
. ___,_ A
‘ ~.__‘,’ I I< ‘ I-._i Ag,”-5 -fa ‘L
I . I ‘ “I–e_~*i<
’ __i‘./’i”~”‘ >”,.’ I.. >7 A-I ;
1‘ ‘-‘1‘ L :i{Q;_\>‘-.
_,__ ,, (
fix .1; —:\
.1 _<_
_ _ a
.\4,_,–~ \.-,
6 1 _
i lash Ionnlary ‘ \ ‘_- “‘:’,i‘ V \
7 flulgo-1 \___ gr M _ Y‘
S Olaclen ;” ,7‘ 7‘
1″ ‘ I\\
K Luvs \
D 503 D0
Figure 7.4 Glaciers and lakes 0fChenab basin
Seven types of glacier have been recognized in this basin, out of which mountain glaciers
are dominant in tenns of number (278) followed by mountain basin (222) with 92 niche
glaciers, 38 cirque glaciers and 34 valley glaciers (Figure 7.4). Areas occupied by
mountain and mountain basin glaciers are 269.65 and 656.63 sq. km, respectively. The
valley glaciers occupy a 41.5% area and 60.6% ice reserves. (Table 7.7).
Table 7.7 Distribution ofglacit-rs by type ill Clit-nab basin
Number Area Ice reserve
of of
Glacier Type Count % kmz % largest smallest km} %
glacier glacier
Cirque 3sI 5.6 6.08 0.4 I 0.49 I 0.02 I 0.13 I 0.10
166 Apron 12I 1.8 13.35 0.8 I 7.15 I 0.18 I 0.84 I 0.50
166 Cap 5 I 0.7 0.73 0 I 0.35 I 0.05 I 0.02 I 0.00
Mountain 27sI 40.8 269.65 15.8 I 7.71 I 0.03 I 15.20 I 8.10
Mountain basin 222 I 32.6 656.63 32.5 I 24.43 I 0.03 I 53.04 I 28.30
Niche 92I 13.5 51.46 3 I 30.11 I 0.03 I 4.75 I 2.50
Valley glacier 34 I 5 706.8 41.5 I 180.26 I 0.8 I 113.62 I 60.60
7.4.4 Satluj River Basin
Satluj is the longest and largest river traversing the Pradesh from east to West and
plausibly, Satluj river basin is largest among five basins of the State. It spreads over 30°

22’to 32° 42’ N latitude and 76° to 79° E longitude horizontally. Eighty percent of its
catchment is snow fed. It consists of 945 glaciers with a cumulative area of 1217.70 sq.
km and an estimated ice reserve of 94.45 km3 (Table 7.1, Figure 7.5). Although the
number of glaciers in Satluj basin is comparatively high, the ice reserve and the area
occupied is less than the Chenab basin. Usually a higher number of valley glaciers
indicate a larger ice reserves and a higher number of mountain, glaciers, ice caps and ice
aprons indicates a smaller ice reserves. Therefore smaller ice reserve in the Satluj basin
indicates that there are fewer valley glaciers (only 12 in number) as compared to Chenab
basin which has 34 valley glacier hence more reserves of ice.
Table 7.S S111111nt11’y ofgluciers in the Satluj basin with respect to aspect.
Aspect E N NE NW s s E SW W
Number ofglacier 59 I 143 I 195 155 114I 150 83 I 46
Area(kmZ) 46.3sI 299.ssI 314.22 230.08 s9.s3I123.19 62.22I 51.92
Area(%) 3.sI 24.6I 25.8 1&9 7.4I 10.1 5.1I 4.3
MaximumArea(kml) 39.2eI 25.14 63.79 12.3I 16.24 9.41I 17.42

Minimum Area (kmz) . 2 I 0.02 0.02 0.02 I 0.02 0.02 I 0.02

Maximumlength(m) 6975.9I 2021s.2I 11005 19181.9 7311.eI 7592.9 70s4.7I 7452
MinimumLength(m) 377.9I 267.9I 251.9 213.3 133.8I 223.8 232.1I 354.7
Iceresel’ve(km3) 25.40I 24.84 21.31 4.94I 7.84 3.49I 3.97
16% mu;
21% ESE
12% sw
16% UW

\ fa ,
\ \ I \ ‘i-7’\’7\L{::”.‘_,’.
‘§ §‘\’ I,‘ ~ <\,
/ K L
3 010:»:
~*. -1…
ruin nuauy
7.5 Glaciers and lakes ofSatluj basin.
“4 *§”=- I
\-:%<kr’/I T1.‘
( ‘ “’1;
–».~ I7‘ \.
_ .4”
{‘7 =
2 _ 1 .-,
. r‘-‘.3- A -‘Y I
all/_-.i /’ 1
. ,- _\/_.. _,‘. I
. i»”- .”~’ – .1 ‘ —*
» “¢‘lI :’\ –<7» I 91;,
34′.‘-7 . g 2 -‘
;§(\ r |\,}_ \_\
., >v_,_’ t, Y ,
. 1″?L\’-‘2″ \,’ ‘ \_”~/N .
_ ,\ ~. \_,.,~,»__ ,
I ’(‘”rl E’
‘> l_‘<
~:-:- _
Tclnl Olaclnrs — Oil
TOIII Lnkzs – 40
‘fatal Ghclnr Aral – 1217.7 sq.klu
1‘-nu |.-an Aral – 138.-I swam
The aspect of the glaciers is distributed in all directions. The highest number (195) of
glaciers is distributed in the northeast aspect followed by the northwest (155) and
southeast (150) (Table 7.8 and Figure 7.5).
Tiblc 7 9 Distiibutioii ot gl lCl\.l\ h\ t\pc m S itlm l7’l\lll
Number Area Ice reserve
Glacier Type Count m largest smallest m
Cirque O 49 O O O
Ice Apron 9 7 2 14
Ice Cap 12 86 2 0 02 O 3
Mountain 2 173 44 I4 6 84 0 06
Mountain basin 697 51 l7 47 26
Niche 4 0 7 0 84 2 0 19
63 l
4 27
ve been recognize
of of
‘ % k Z % k 3 %
glacier glacier
‘ 65 6.9 9.6 0.8 I . I . 3 I .21 I 02
s2 8.7 43.1 3.5 I . 7 I 0.03 I . I 2 3
57 6 . i.i I 1.1 I . I . 7 I 04
‘ 260 7.5 . .2 I . I . I 8.17 I s 7
‘ ‘ 416 44 . 57.3 I .42 I 0.06 I . I so
‘ 52 5.5 s. 3 . I . I 0.0 I . I 02
Valley glacier 13 1. 2.76 22.4 I .79 I 7.88 I 36.1 I as
Seven types of glaciers ha ‘ d, ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
out of which mountain basins glaciers are
dominant in terms of number. There are 416 mountain glaciers, 260 mountain glaciers
and 13 valley glaciers (Figure 7.5). Areas occupied by these glaciers are 697.51, 173.44
and 272.76 sq. km, respectively. Out of the total ice reserves in the basin, the mountain
basin and valley glaciers contain 50.0 and 38.2 per cent, respectively (Table 7.9). The
maximum length of the glaciers is 2.02 km and the minimum length is about 0.1782 km.

A‘ l
r\_”\ . \
\ —Ile
\ .
\ > /
7 ~ \ J >
1’ 1
/\%’\-\’(\ . K aw’; ‘I I ‘
an–u on–any
TIIII Olneiorn – ZIO
llllli 1-1-u 1.-nu – o
A Yolnl Olnclnr Aron – 10: 5: 5-|.um
. Yu-| Lulu Arum A 0
Figure 7.6 Glaciers and lakes of Sub basin l(Tsarap Chhu).
The largest glacier in Satluj basin is Satluj_gr 898 which lies in the extreme south eastern
corner of the state border, occupies an area of 63.79 and ice reserve of l 1.04 km3
The longest glacier is Saluj_gr 913 which is about 20 km long although it is one half to
Satluj_gr 898 in tenns of area and ice reserves.
7.4.5 The Sub Basins
Beside the major identified basins there are other four sub-basin.
Sub Basin 1 (T sarap Chu)
The sub-basin l lies between 32° 29’ – 32° 59’ N latitude and 77° 28’ – 78° 24’ E
longitude, has a total of 250 glaciers occupying an area of 163.33 sq. km. (Figure 7.6).
The northern aspect of glaciers was dominant, a total of 165 glaciers i.e. 82.7 per cent are
found in the north, northeast and northwest aspect (Table 7.10).
Table 7.10 Summary olglaciers in the sub basin I (Tsarap Chu)\\ill1respecl10 aspect.
Number ofglacier
57 | 54 | 53 | 13
34| 14| :3
Area (km!)
7.87 |
45.07| 49.9s| 40.04| 2.14
12.9| 2.93| 2.35
4.2 I
27.6| 30.6| 24.5| 1.3
7.9 I 1.s| 1.4
Maximum Area (kml)
3.05 |
4.s4| 4.54| 5.41| 0.58
1.76 | 0.62 | 1.2
Minimum Area (kml)
0.49 |
0.79| 0.93| 0.76| 0.16
0.3s| 0.21| 0.29
Maximum length (m)
3968.6 I
5365.2| 5244.9| 5963.3| 1959.5
3802.3 I 1337 I 2048.1
Minimum Length (m)
32o.6| 196.1| 324.1| 245.6
242.9| 20s.1| 193.3
Ice reserve (kmi)
0.38 |
2.12| 2.6s| 2.0s| 0.05
0.50 | 0.07 | 0.08

24% El E
I, N
14% 22% SE
22% UW
The majority of the glaciers are mountain glaciers (Table 7.1 1). The largest glacier
recognized in this sub-basin is sub_basin 81. This is the largest glacier of the sub-basin
with a length of 5.96 km and an area of 5. 41 sq. km. The second largest sub_basin 87 is
4.86 km long, occupies an area of 5. 24 sq. km.
Table 7.1 I [)ist1’ibutio11 ofglnciers by type in Sub linsin I ITsal’ap Chu)
Number Area Ice reserve
of of
Glacier Type Count % kmz % largest smallest km} %
glacier glacier
Cirque 13 5.2 1.77 1.1 I 0.36 I 0.06 I 0.04 I 0.4
16¢ Apron 4 1.6 1.02 0.6 I 0.67 I 0.05 I 0.03 I 0.4
16¢ Cap 31 12.4 3.75 2.3 I 0.62 I 0.02 I 0.08 I 1
Mountain 104 41.6 40.55 24.8 I 3.05 I 0.03 I 1.47 I 18.5
lVlOll[lIEil[l basin 83 33.2 104.18 63.8 I 4.84 I 0.09 I 5.50 I 69.1
Niche 13 5.2 1.41 0.9] 0.5 I 0.02 I 0.03 I 0.4
Valley glacier 2 0.8 10.65 6.5 I 5.41 I 5.24 I 0.81 I 10.2
Sub Basin 2 (Taklingla)
Sub basin 2 (Taklingla) lies between 32° ll’ N — 32° 29’ N latitude and 78° 23’ E — 78°
32’ E longitude. Sub-basin 2 (Taklingla) consists of 55 glaciers, covering an area of 32.04
sq. km and ice reserves of 1.38 km3 on the whole. The largest glacier sub_basin 2_gr 52
lies in the 32°24‘36.l6″ longitude and 78°27‘25.39″ latitude, is 4.7 km in length and
occupies and area of 3.60 sq. krn (Figure 7.7).

i n-=1» Ibllllfllly
— M…‘
I G,,,,,_,, -run-111.-u-4.:
_— _.
L‘ .
Figure 7.7 Glaciers and lakes of Sub basin 2 (Taklingla)
Ynlll fllttltrl — II
nu-1 Olncivr Area » 22.04 sq.l1m
K L,,,,._ Tolcl Like Area – 0.19 Iq.l1m.
The maximum number of glaciers (20) is in the north eastem aspect followed by south
eastern (18). The former alone covers about 60 per cent of the area Whereas southeastem
oriented glaciers occupy only 18.57 per cent of the area. The lowest number of glaciers
(4) are east oriented, however, Westem aspect Was completely absent in the sub_basin 2
glaciers (Taklingla) (Table 7.12). Only mountain glaciers are present in this basin (Table
Table 7.12 Suniniary otiglaciers in the sub basin 2 (Taklingla) with respect to aspect.
Number ofglacier
4 I
Area (kml)
1.32 I
6 I
3.46 I
19.24 I
10.8 I
60.1 I
Maximum Area (kmz)
0.79 I
0.88 I
Minimum Area (kml)
0.07 I
0.24 I
0.07 I
Maximum length (m)
1734 I
1695.2 I
4706.4 I
Minimum Length (m)
566.9 I
655.9 I
Ice reserve (kmi)
0.04 I
0.12 I
0.98 I

7% 11
Table 7.13 Distribution ofglaciers by type in Sub basin Z ITaklingla)
Number Area Ice reserve
Glacier Type
0 0
COLIN % I kmz I % largest smallest I km}
f f
5.5 I
1 I
0.2 I
0.04 I
Ice Cap
0.31 I
0.2 I
0.07 I
0.07 I
39 I 70.9 I
40.7 I
0.94 I
0.07 I
0.37 I
Mountain basin
10I 1s.2I
46.7 I
2.92 I
0.47 I
0.77 I
0.2 I
0.07 I
0.07 I
0 I
Valley glacier
1| 1.sI
1I 1.sI
3.6 I
0.24 I
Sub Basin 3 (Bhagirathi)
The Sub basin 3 (Bhagirathi) lies between 31° 05’ E- 31° 27’ N latitude and 78° 44’ E —
79° 02’ E. There are 43 glaciers that have been identified within sub-basin 3 (Bhagirathi).
They occupy a surface area of 43.06 km (Table 7.1, Figure 7.8). In terms of number
northeast and southeast oriented glaciers are more dominant (Table 7.14). Southeastern
glaciers, however, occupy almost 48.7 per of the total area enclosed in the sub basin,
whereas southwestern aspect is completely missing in the basin.


Inn: Bolnllnry
Figure 7.8 Glaciers and Glacial lakes of Sub basin 3 (Bhagirathi)
Titnl I-Ikll – 1
Total Glnclu Ara: – £3.06
Total Lake Aron — 0.01! sq.|\m.
Table 7.1-I Sullm1z11’y of glaciers in the sub 17115111 3 lBl1agi1’atl1i) with respect to aspect.
Number ofglacier
Area (km!)
5.3 2315 1817 1.6 1.9
6| sI 12 I 3 I
2.29 I 10.12I $.06 I 0.67 I 0.8
Maximum Area (kw?)
1.7 I 5.0
5 I 3.06 I 0.41 I 0.8
Minimum Area (kml)
0.04I 0.11 I 0.03 I 0.1 I 0.2
Maximum length (m)
2672.5I 39s5.3I 34s2.2I 127s.sI 1714.7
Minimum Length (m)
lee reserve (km‘)
0.10 0.6
1 0.41 0.02 0.03
44z.6I 563.6I 191.2I 490.5I 1714.7
2% 7%

The sub basin has only 5 types of glaciers i.e. cirque, ice cap, mountain, mountain basin
and niche (Table 7.15). The mountain glaciers are dominant constituting about 53.5 per
cent in tenns of number and 61.2 per cent in terms of area occupied. The second highest
types of glaciers are mountain basin counting 25.6 per cent of glacier number and 35.8
per cent of the total area covered by glaciers in the basin. Valley glaciers are not found in
the sub basin.
Table 7.15 Distribution of glaciers by type in Sub basin 3 (Bhagirathil
Number Area Ice reserve
of of
GlacierType Count % I kmz I % largest smallest I km} %
Cirque 2 I 4.7 I 0.37 I 0.9 0.34
0.03 I
0.01 I
lce Cap 4 I 9.3 I 0.75 I 1.7 0.27
0.02 I
Mountain 23I 53.sI 26.33I 61.2 5.0sI
Mountain basin 11 I 25.6 I 1s.4I 35.8 I 5.05 I
0.13 I
0.90 I
Niche 3| 7| 0.21I 0.sI 0.i1I 0.04I 0.00I 0.5
Sub Basin 4 (Pabbar)
The Sub basin 4 (Pabbar) lies between 36° 36’ E to 31°25’ N latitude and 77° 30’ E to
78° 18’ E Sub basin 4 (Pabbar) is the smallest basin that contain only 24 glaciers. These
glaciers occupy an area of 6.36 sq km area and ice reserves of 0.19 km3 (Figure 7.9). The
glaciers are small in size With maximum area of 1.005 sq km is being covered by
Sub_basin 4_gr 5, the length of this glacier is 0.36 km. The majority of the glaciers are
south oriented (Table 7.16) however, the area occupied by the south west oriented
glaciers is maximum (32% of the total area).
if ‘~. I -I 5″ 3 5’?
.7 i
. \
v.— — H,‘ I‘ _,v.
.__ .-
Infill launllvy
i mu“

_ Total Olnclnrn – Z4
‘3″‘°|”” Total Laid! – O
Tvlfil Ullclcr Aria ~6-SC \I|.\lII
1-K” nun Ln“ nu – o
Figure 7.9 Glaciers and lakes of Sub basin 4 (Pabbar)

Table 7.10 Summary Ql\glLiLIl€TS in the sub basin -1 IPal>barI \\i1h respect to aspect.
Aspect W


Number ofglacier 4
Area (1<m’) 0.30 I 0.54 I 1.69 I 0.05 I 2.04 I 1.75
Al’B8(%) 4.6 I 8.4 I 26.6 I 0.8 I 32 I 27.5
Maximum Area (1<m‘) 0.13 I 0.33 I 0.56 I 0.05 I 1.01 I 0.88
Minimum Area (1<m‘) 0.06 I 0.21 I 0.04 I 0.05 I 0.28 I 0.09
MaXimumlength(m) 567.2I 652.5I 1735.2I 271.2I 3588.8I 1296.2
Minimum Length (m) 305.4 I 529.6 I 328.1 I 271.2 I 574.8 I 458
16¢ reserve (kml) 0.00 I 0.01 I 0.04 I 0.00 I 0.08 I 0.06
11% NW
45% SW
13″ W
Three types of glaciers are observed in the sub basin viz,. cirque, ice cap and mountain
wherein mountain glaciers are more in number i.e. 54.2 per cent of the total glaciers
present in the sub basin (Table 7.17 ).
Table 7. I 7Distributi0n olglaciers by type in Sub basin 3 (Pabbar)
Number Area Ice reserve
of of
Glacier Type Count % kmz °/o largest smallest ‘ 1<m3 %
glacier glacier
Cirque 8I 33.3| 1.116| 17.5| 0.562| 0.041| 0.03| 14
Ice Cap 3 I 12.5 I 2.03 I 31.9 I 1.005 I 0.269 I 0.08 I 39.5
l\/lOL\l1lail”l 13| 54.2| 3.217| 50.6| 0.881| 0.051| 0.09| 46.6

Chapter 8
Inventory of Glacial Lakes
The inventory of glacial lakes has been systematically carried out using topographic
maps. For the identification, classification, and evaluation of the dangerous stage of
glacial lakes, a LISS3 satellite image has been used. The spatial inventory is based
entirely on the topographic maps on a scale of l:50,000 published in the l960s—1970s by
the Survey of India. The spatial distribution and aerial extension of the glacial lakes were
obtained with the help of geographic infonnation systems (GIS).
A glacial lake is defined as a water mass existing in a sufficient amount and extending
with a free surface in, under, beside and/or in front of a glacier and originated by glacier
activities such as the retreating processes of a glacier.
For the purpose of the inventory, the numbering of the lakes started from the outlet of the
major stream and proceeded clockwise round the basin.
It is obvious to note that the lakes associated with perennial snow and ice, originate from
glaciers. But the isolated lakes found in the mountains and valleys far from the glaciers
may not have a glacial origin. Due to the rapid rate of ice and snow melt, possibly caused
by global warming, accumulation of water in these lakes has been increasing rapidly. The
isolated lakes above 3,500 masl are considered to be the remnants of the glacial lakes left
due to the retreat of the glaciers.
The lakes are classified into erosion lakes, valley trough lakes, cirque lakes, blocked
lakes, lateral and end moraine-dannned lakes, and supraglacial lakes.
Erosion lakes
Glacial erosion lakes are the water bodies formed in a depression after the glaciers have
retreated leaving the lakes isolated from the glaciers (Figure 8.1). They may be cirque
type and trough valley type lakes and are generally stable lakes.

1 .-
Hh-1». .a’.\
Figure. 8.1 Lakes in the showing the
S-Supraglacial lake, M-Moraine Dammed Lake, Lake, B-Blocked Lake, C-Cirque Lake.
Supraglacial lakes
The supraglacial lakes are small and change their position in the glacier. The Lanzhou
Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology (LIGG)/ the Water and Energy Commission
Secretariat (WECS)/ the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) study (LIGG/WECS/N EA
1988) did not consider such lakes in their classifications. However, the history of past
glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) events of moraine-dammed lakes indicates that they
are initially derived from supraglacial lakes. As the target of the project is to identify and
monitor the potentially dangerous glacial lakes with the help of time series’ satellite
images, aerial photographs, and topographic maps, it will be helpful to know the activity
of supraglacial lakes. If supraglacial lakes are situated at the tongue of a valley glacier,
larger in size, or grouping rapidly to expand their size, then they are potentially dangerous
and may burst out in the near future.
These lakes develop within the ice mass away from the moraine with dimensions from 50
to 100m. These lakes may develop in any position of the glacier but the extension of the
lake is less than half the diameter of the valley glacier. Shifting, merging and draining of
the lakes characterise the supraglacial lakes. The merging of lakes results in expansion of
the lake area and storage of a huge volume of water with a high potential energy. The
tendency of a glacial lake towards merging and expanding indicates the danger level of
the GLOF. Most of the potentially dangerous lakes are advanced forms of supraglacial

Moraine -dammed lakes
In the retreating process of a glacier, glacier ice tends to melt in the lowest part of the
glacier surrounded by lateral and end moraines. As a result, many supraglacial ponds are
fonned on the glacier tongue. These ponds sometimes enlarge to become a large lake by
interconnecting with each other, a moraine-dammed lake is thus bom. The lake is filled
with melt water and rainwater from the drainage area behind the lake and starts flowing
from the outlet of the lake even in the winter season when the flow is minimum.
There are two kinds of moraine-dammed lakes, end moraine-dammed lakes and lateral
moraine-dammed lakes, depending on the position and morphology of the damming
conditions (Figure 8.1). The moraine material may be ice-cored or ice- free. Before the ice
body of the glacier completely melts away, glacier ice exists in the moraine and beneath
the lake bottom. The ice bodies cored in the moraine and beneath the lake are sometimes
called dead ice or fossil ice. As glacier ice continues to melt, the lake becomes deeper
and wider. Finally when ice contained in the moraines and beneath the lake completely
melts away, the container of lake water consists of only the bedrock and the moraines.
An ice-dammed lake is produced on the side(s) of a glacier, when an advancing glacier
happens to intercept a tributary/tributaries pouring into a main glacier valley. Since the
glaciers in the Himachal Himalayas produce relatively rich debris, thick lateral moraines
are deposited on both sides of the glacier tongue. As such an ice core-dammed lake is
usually small in size and does not come into contact with glacier ice. This type of lake is
less susceptible to GLOF than a moraine-dammed lake.
A glacial lake is formed and maintained only up to a certain stage of glacier fluctuation. If
one follows the lifespan of an individual glacier, it is found that the moraine-dammed
glacial lakes build up and disappear with a lapse of time. The moraine-dammed lakes
disappear once they are fully destroyed or when debris fills the lakes completely or the
mother glacier advances again to lower altitudes beyond the moraine dam position. Such
glacial lakes are essentially ephemeral and are not stable from the point of view of the life
of glaciers.

As in the inventory of glaciers, the inventory of glacial lakes was carried out by dividing
the State into four basins and four sub basins constituted by the four major rivers and their
tributaries. The basins are Beas, Ravi, Chenab, Satluj and Sub basins which are four in
Altogether 156 lakes have been identified, with a cumulative area of 385.22 sq. km
(Table 8.1 and Figure 8.2). The details of the lake inventory database are given in Annex
Table 8.1 Distribution of lakes in the basins of Hiniaclial Pradcsli.
S.No. Basin Lake Number Area (k )
59 236.20
17 9.16
33 3.22
40 136.46
Sub basin 1 (Tsarap Chu
O –
Sub basin 2 (Takling la)
6 0.16
Sub basin 3 (Bhagirathi)
1 0.02
Sub basin 4 (Pabbar)
() _
8 I
I Total
156 385.22
= / I
ti 1? –
% L ~
\//\, ,
1‘ ‘~
– Glacial Lakes
O 50000
Fig. 8.2 Lakes of Himachal Pradesh
I Q,/\’ \
/J’. . 1* 1-T A
/1 \\_ 1
M4,, /,
.j /<j~—&
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~ | afi
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‘ . ;~ – / – » c
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“‘l~a~’:Z/’ . Yilj \ — .
AK .».~-/— , _
_\ 1′ j K)’ ‘K we |’ /» I ;__:_~ -\‘ //__§\ __/2,
.3 ii \ L i K / 7 §;’__’}A’\’ x. J‘~_“\,‘_-’&\ “”*~*”
\_ \\’~‘A\” ‘m’ <‘)’_§’:~ 7 __ Lifiij %\\Lr/X’,
\ \ \-t, , ‘\_/6″ W \._‘,.4__ –
\ ‘A ‘ \\ I \ L | \“f*»
x 2) \ ./ ,/”‘“T”<l, w‘\’: ‘ -‘~
Q \\ J *1 r ‘ Av} vk /
\ / \ \
‘ f-‘>x&f
-i Drain v”/‘_/’\\::\ \
i Basln Boundary ‘ \\.‘%1€</’ >\,5L_TI;‘ (\ {i
i Ridges “\§§\A<‘¥’\} \‘~’
\ g , \ /

Total Lake Nr. — 156
~» Total Lake Area — 385.2

8.3.1 The Beas basin
The Beas river basin is situated in the western part of 1-limachal Pradesh. 1t consists of
highest number of lakes. In the Beas basin a total of 59 lakes have been identified
covering an area of 236.20 sq. km. Most of the lakes (53) are found to be associated with
glaciers (Figure 8.3).
The lakes in this region have been classified into seven types: erosion, cirque, valley,
blocked, lateral moraine, moraine dammed and supraglacial lakes (Table 8.2). There are
12 erosion lakes, 2 cirque, 3 blocked, 3 lateral moraine, 21 moraine dammed, 11
supraglacial and 7 valley lakes. The cumulative surface area of the lakes in the basin is
236.20 sq krn. The erosion lakes, cirque lakes and valley lakes are not potentially
dangerous as they are isolated and not associated with any hanging glaciers. In general
erosion and valley lakes are higher in number but, this basin has 21 moriane dammed and
3 blocked lakes collectively constituting an area of 23 per cent of the total area and fall in
the categoiy of potentially more dangerous lakes. Lakes that are not associated with any
glacier even if they are large in size do not pose any danger of GLOF. It is those lakes
that are associated with large glaciers that pose a threat of flooding as they have the
potential to grow in size as the glaciers recedes.
Table 8.2 Types oflakes in Beas basin
Area (m2)
Type Number % |
Ama I % Area of largest lake
5.02 |
111544.26 | 0.05 | 61977.49
Cirque 3.39 |
33084.l4| 0.01 | 19549.07
Erosion 12 20.34 |
152706.49 | 0.06 | 41404.02
Lateral moraine
5.08 |
83066.65 | 0.04 | 51859.75
Moraine dammed 35.59 |
425299.16 | 0.1s| 62916.37
Supraglacial 18.64 |
285449.30 | 0.12 | 165848.87
236166378.l5 I 99.54 I 232901222.55

T-‘ \
, .__
\._ \_ N
~ \.
l \ \
J Ti Ta‘ _ 1;”! X‘ \ JF
,1 . – I -\_
~, >.e \
r. 5 .
l .4-1
at ‘
_-._ _ bk
I 36>.
“T”-. _..-7′ 5%
\_ .’ ‘
\ ,, ..
i\./-_ L412 ‘ ,.
‘A ‘—‘:’\?-L L- _ T,
\_ “~,4, -an
.\ J
._\ ‘fig
\\ » – ‘/:»1r‘“]
– Lakes \ _ /
~- f
i Ridges _.)’ L /-. A
i Basin Boundary __ ,_J_ _,~.~’/
n 80:00
Total Lake Nr. — 59
Total Lake Area — 236.20 sq. km
Fig. 8.3 Lakes ofBeas Basin
8.3.2 The Ravi Basin
The Ravi river basin is smaller in aerial extension and has a less number of lakes than
other basins. A total of 17 lakes have been identified in the Ravi basin (Table 8.3 and
Figure 8.4) and l6 of them are associated with glaciers. Ravi_gl 2 is the largest lake with
an area of 8.85 and has an average length of 12.61 km. It is a valley lake and is not
associated with any glacier. The largest glacial lake is Ravi_gl 3, which is classified as an
erosion lake, linked directly to the Ravi_gr 25. The majority of the lakes in Ravi basin
are either of erosion type or valley. Besides these, there are 2 cirque, l lake each of
moraine dammed and blocked type exist in the basin whereas lateral moraine and
supraglacial lakes are not there.

,1 ‘1
‘ 14
.1.‘ els-
\, ‘ ‘l
/. ‘ . .8 _
\ ,\. 2
l 1′
\ 7* TF1
.” K
. ._ . 4
‘ _ _ 5 ;_/’
_ 1 ‘ 1’
1 …\‘
. \_ _
– Lakes ‘P; _’ : L,-‘2
” 33
i Ridges _
i Basin Boundary
Fig. 8.4 Lakes of Ravi Basin
1 :”*’
Total Lake Nr. -17
Total Lake Area – 9.16 sq. km
Table 8.3 Types of lakes in Ravi basin
Type Numllgginiber % I Arelgrea ( ) % Area of largest lake
Blocked 1 | 5.88| 22542.56 0.25 | 22542.56
Cirque 2 | 11.76| 56354.77 0.61 | 37105.78
Erosion 6 | 35.29 | 133252.66 1.45 | 59214.56
Moraine dammed 1 | 5.88 | 4960.90 0.05 | 4960.90
Valley 7 | 41.18 | 946536.27 97.63 | 884982138

.1 .d_ N
“J “K ‘1″. -‘ ‘*.
s» i\-
-1. A:
;~-’”~’;” jfje;-“
” 3
~- .. :.§”:””‘-
_ .~><:
_;.z_ _
>_. ‘* ‘
~ . r.
J_ tr J,
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‘\’ _ ‘I
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_/’-.\ 1-M ‘J J
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jx 1+i\iV”
Z Lakes
i Ridges
i” Basin Boundary
Total Lake Nr. — 33
Total Lake Area – 3.22 sq. km
Fig. 8.5 Lakes of Chenab Basin
8.3.3 The Chenab basin
The Chenab basin contained 33 lakes covering an area of 3.22 sq km, out of these 31
lakes that could be classified as glacial lakes. The distribution of lakes in accordance with
the types of lakes is presented in Table 8.4, and with the glaciers is shown in Figure 8.5.
The highest number of lakes is of moraine dammed type, followed by supraglacial lakes.
Besides this, there are three erosion and two blocked lakes. Chenab_g1 19 is the largest
moraine dammed glacial lake which is about 2 km long constituting an area of 0.91 sq
km. Another moraine dammed lake in the basin is Chenab_gl 14 occupying an area of
564939.98 m2 and is 1461.7 m long (Figure 8.6). This lake is associated with Geopang
gath glacier. This lake is located at the snout of the Geopang Gath Glacier in the Chandra
basin has been identified as dangerous as it can cause flash floods in the downstream
areas. This lake also exists in the survey of India toposheets and its area is 0.27 sq km as
per topographical map of 1976. The average area of lakes ranged from 0.001 to 0.91 sq

Figure 8.6 Moraine dammed (Chenab_g1 14) lake in the Chenab basin
Table 8.4 Types of lakes in Chcnab basin
N b A
Type Numbim H % I Areama ( ) % Area of largest lake
Blocked 2 6.06 | 54163.55 17.33 | 518301.87
Cirque 1 3.03 | 14332.64 0.45 | 14332.64
Erosion 3 9.09 | 66907.59 | 2.09 | 51777.44
Moraine dammed 45.45 | 866838.56 | 58.37 | 911042.63
Supraglacial 27.27 | 68961.09 | 5.28 | 45689.00
Valley 9.09 | 26972.40 | 6.48 | 349673.77
8.3.4 The Satluj basin
There are 40 lakes in total listed in this basin with an area of 136.46 sq km (Table 8.1,
Figure 8.7). Most of the lakes are small in size and about 35 are found to be associated
with glaciers. At present these lakes do not pose any danger from GLOF. There are
maximum number of moraine dammed lakes (20), followed by supraglacial (6), valley
lakes (5), erosion (4)) blocked (3) and cirque (2). Moraine dammed lakes dominate in
number, however, valley lakes constitutes 99.5 per cent of the area covered by the lakes
as Sat1uj_g140, Gobind sagar lake, which is water reservoir alone covers 135.8 sq km
area and 77 km in length (Table 8.5).

Table 8.5 Types of lakes in Satluj basin
Number Area ( )
0 0
Number | A» | Area |
Area of largest lake

3 | 7.50 | 24507.74| 0.02 |
2| 5.00| 14562.32| 0.01|
4| 10.00| 120440.70| 0.09|
Moraine dammed
20| 50.00| 390791.49| 0.29|
6 | 15.00 | 50207.80 | 0.04 |
5| 12.50|135s70426.26| 99.56|
Fig. 8.7 Lakes of Satluj Basin
, \/Ly ‘S .
2 Lakes
Z Ridges
8.3.5 The Sub-basins
~ a

‘ ‘>.
$3‘ 1.
I.-V .
\r/_>*’\\’£L_-X -zvdfy
5… f “*1
‘u M
\ *1
Ba sin Bomdary >\_» _
…j:_ ¢1\</
ea t
r t ‘évéfl
Total Lake Nr. — 40
Total Lake Area — 136.46 sq. km
The Sub Basin 1 (Tsarap Chu)
Sub-basin 1 has no lakes.
The Sub Basin 2 (Takling la)
There are only 6 lakes in the sub-basin 2 (Takling la) covering an area of0.162 sq. km
and 5 are linked to glaciers hence could be ten-ned as glacial lakes (Figure 8.8). These
lakes fall in the category of moraine dammed, supraglacial and blocked lakes. Out of the
total six, 3 have been designated as moraine dammed and collectively constitutes about
72 per cent of the area (Table 8.6). Blocked lakes numbering two are also small lakes and

only one of them is associated with
about 0.052 sq. km.
I‘ \_
f \
. \<‘.-‘\
I “)1 P
\_ ‘1’,
K /
/1 l
/’ _

1 y .
l.\ =
1 /
.: /
.i‘. I
i Fhdges “’2. .,. *‘
1 ’/
i Basin Bomdary \’~/
Fig. 8.8 Lakes of Subbasin 2 (Takl’
All these lakes are
Lake N
mg la)
r. — 6
otal Lake Area – 016
small in
3 2.
9;, \
. sq. km
e 8.6 T
ypes 01° lakes in Sub basin l (Tsarap
Number Area( )
P6 Number I % Area
Blocked | 2 | 33.3
Moraine dammed | 3
C hu )
I 0
A) T630
A r
1.27 |
| 50
| 1
TheS ‘
largest lak
l 16612.2
| 16.7
ub Basin 3
| 23171.68
I 72 I
9382.09 | 5
Only on
.8 |
e glacial lak
e could be located ‘
y type of lake constit ‘
1n sub-basin 3 (Bhagirathi)
uting an area of 0.015 (Fi
Table 8.7 ‘
(Table 8
gure 8 9)
Ty pcs of
.7). It’s a
_ L lakcs in S
ub basin l (Tsarap Chu)
er Area( )
umber % Area
y l
I % Are
a of largest lake
2 | 100 |
size with largest

L___7 \
I Lakes
i Ridges \\
//) 9+
i Basin Boundary \_,~\/V}
‘3 Q”L(QlJ
Fig. 89 Lakes of Subbasin 3 (Bhagirathi)
The Sub Basin 4 (Pabbar)
There are no lakes present in the Sub Basin 4. (Pabbar)
Total Lake Nr. — 6
Total Lake Area — 0.16 sq. km

Chapter 9
Glacial Lake Outburst Floods and Damage
Periodic or occasional release of large amounts of stored water in a catastrophic outburst
flood is widely referred to as a jokulhlaup (Iceland), a debacle (French), an aluvion
(South America), or a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) (Himalayas). A jokulhlaup is
an outburst which may be associated with volcanic activity, a debacle is an outburst but
from a proglacial lake, an aluvion is a catastrophic flood of liquid mud, irrespective of its
cause, generally transporting large boulders, and a GLOF is a catastrophic discharge of
water under pressure from a glacier. GLOF events are severe geomorphological hazards
and their floodwaters can wreak havoc on all human structures located on their path.
Much of the damage created during GLOF events is associated with the large amounts of
debris that accompany the floodwaters. Damage to settlements and farmland can take
place at very great distances from the outburst source, for example in Pakistan, damage
occurred 1,300 km from the outburst source (Water and Energy Commission Secretariat
(WECS 1987b).
Global warming
There is a concern that human activities may change the climate of the globe. Past and
continuing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases will cause the temperature
of the Earth’s surface to increase – this is popularly termed ‘global warming’ or the
‘greenhouse effect’. The ‘greenhouse effect’ gives an extra temperature rise.
Glacier retreat
An important factor in the fonnation of glacial lakes is the rising global temperature,
which causes glaciers to retreat in many mountain regions.
During the so-called ‘Little Ice Age’ (AD l55O-1850), many glaciers were longer than
today. Moraines fonned in front of the glaciers at that time nowadays block the lakes.
Glaciation and interglaciation are natural processes that have occurred several times
during the last 10, 000 years and before.
As a general rule, it can be said that glaciers in the Himalayas have retreated about 1 km
since the Little Ice Age, a situation that provides a large space for retaining melt water,
leading to the formation of moraine-dammed lakes (LIGG/WECS/NEA 1988).
Rothlisberger and Geyh (1985) conclude in their study on ‘glacier variations in Himalaya
and Karakorum’ that a rapid retreat of nearly all glaciers with small oscillation was found
in the period from 1860/l90(%1980.

Causes of glacial lake water level rise
0 The rise in water level in glacial lakes dammed by moraines creates a situation
that endangers the lake to reach breaching point. The causes of water level rise in
glacial lakes are given below.
0 Rapid change in climatic conditions that increase solar radiation causing rapid
melting of glacier ice and snow with or without the retreat of the glacier.
0 Intensive precipitation events
0 Decrease in sufficient seepage across the moraine to balance the inflow because of
sedimentation of silt from the glacier runoff, enhanced by the dust flow into the
I Blocking of ice conduits by sedimentation or by enhanced plastic ice flow in the
case of a glacial advance.
0 Thick layer of glacial ice (dead ice) weighed down by sediment below the lake
bottom which stops subsurface infiltration or seepage from the lake bottom.
0 Shrinking of the glacier tongue higher up, causing melt water that previously left
the glacier somewhere outside the moraine, where it may have continued
underground through talus, not to follow the path of the glacier.
I Blocking of an outlet by an advancing tributary glacier.
0 Landslide at the inner part of the moraine wall, or from slopes above the lake
I Melting of ice from an ice-core moraine wall.
0 Melting of ice due to subterranean thermal activities (volcanogenic, tectonic).
0 Inter-basin sub-surface flow of water from one lake to another due to height
difference and availability of flow path.
Different triggering mechanisms of GLOF events depend on the nature of the damming
materials, the position of the lake, the volume of the water, the nature and position of the
associated mother glacier, physical and topographical conditions, and other physical
conditions of the surroundings.
Mechanism of ice core-dammed lake failure
Ice-core dammed (glacier-dammed) lakes drain mainly in two ways.
0 through or underneath the ice
0 over the ice
Initiation of opening within or under the ice dam (glacier) occurs in six ways.
0 Flotation of the ice dam (a lake can only be drained sub-glacially if it can lift the
damming ice barrier sufficiently for the water to find its Way undemeath).
0 Pressure defonnation (plastic yielding of the ice dam due to a hydrostatic pressure
difference between the lake water and the adjacent less dense ice of the dam;
outward progression of cracks or crevasses under shear stress due to a
combination of glacier flow and high hydrostatic pressure).

0 Melting of a tunnel through or under the ice
0 Drainage associated with tectonic activity
I Water overflowing the ice dam generally along the lower margin
0 Sub- glacial melting by volcanic heat
The bursting mechanism for ice core-dammed lakes can be highly complex and involve
most or some of the above-stated hypothesis. Marcus (1960) considered ice core-dammed
bursting as a set of interdependent processes rather than one hypothesis.
A landslide adjacent to the lake and subsequent partial abrasion on the ice can cause the
draining of ice core-moraine-dammed lakes by overtopping as the water flows over, the
glacier retreats, and the lake fills rapidly.
Mechanism of moraine-dammed lake failure
Moraine-dammed lakes are generally drained by rapid incision of the sediment barrier by
outpouring waters. Once incision begins, the hustling water flowing through the outlet can
accelerate erosion and enlargement of the outlet, setting off a catastrophic positive feedback
process resulting in the rapid release of huge amounts of sediment-laden water. Peak
discharge from breached moraine-damaged lakes just downstream from the moraine can be
estimated from an empirical relationship developed by Costa (1985) (Figure 9.1) The onset
of rapid incision of the barrier can be triggered by waves generated by glacier calving or ice
avalanching, or by an increase in water level associated with glacial advance.
100.00 1 I I 1 I 1 | . \
. Constructeddams ‘
1O_[J[][) – Q darr|s,mnrame dams ’ . ‘.
‘ Glacier clams ‘
1000 L . ‘
Commumeddmns. ..$ .
100 . “ mam ,n’:1-nines dam
0 0
Q Glanienlams
1 1 | | | | | 1
10’3 10’2 104 1043 101 102 103 104 105 105
ill‘ L M
Dam Factor X 105
(Height in meters x volume in cubic
\ .. v 1 A –
\ ° “me Existing Water l Breathe
_ _____ _-‘–0- __-_ \ Helght( level
\\ “\ ‘H’
Y» —— End moraine Fill
Typical Lalne feature to calculate the Dan fmtnr
Figure 9.1: Peak discharge * from breached moraine-dammed lakes can be estimated
from an emp irical relationship developed by Costa (1985)

Dam failure can occur for the following reasons:
0 melting ice core within the moraine dam,
0 rock and/or ice avalanche into a dammed lake,
I settlement and/or piping within the moraine dam,
I sub- glacial drainage, and
0 engineering works.
Melting ice-core
The impervious ice core within a moraine dam melts, lowering the effective height of the
dam, thus allowing lake water to drain over the residual ice core. The discharge increases
as the ice core melts, and as greater amounts of water filter through the moraine, canying
fine materials. The resulting regressive erosion of the moraine dam ultimately leads to its
Overtopping by displacement Waves
Lake water is displaced by the sudden influx of rock and/or ice avalanche debris. The
resultant waves overtop the freeboard of the dam causing regressive and eventual failure.
Settlement and/or piping
Earthquake shocks can cause settlement of the moraine. This reduces the dam freeboard
to a point that the lake water drains over the moraine and causes regressive erosion and
eventual failure.
Sub-glacial drainage
A receding glacier with a tenninus grounded within a proglacial lake can have its volume
reduced without its ice front receding up-valley. When the volume of melt water within
the lake increases to a point that the formerly grounded glacier floats, an instantaneous
sub- glacial drainage occurs. Such drainage can destroy any moraine dam, allowing the
lake to discharge until the glacier loses its buoyancy and grounds again.
Engineering Works
Artificial measures taken to lower the water levels or to change dam structures may
trigger catastrophic discharge events. For example, in Peru in 1953, during the artificial
lowering of the water level, an earth slide caused l2m high displacement waves, which
poured into a trench, excavated as part of the engineering works and almost led to the
total failure of the moraine dam.

As GLOF s pose severe threats to humans, man-made structures, agricultural fields, and
natural vegetation it is important to make accurate estimates of the likely magnitude of
future floods. Several methods have been devised to predict peak discharges, which are
the most erosive and destructive phases of floods. The surge propagation hydrograph
depends upon the type of GLOF event, i.e. from moraine-dammed lake or from ice-
dammed lake (Figure 9.2). The duration of a surge wave from an ice-dammed lake may
last for days to even weeks, while from a moraine-dammed lake the duration is shorter,
minutes to hours. The peak discharge from the moraine-dammed lake is usually higher
than from ice-dammed lakes.
‘ I I
1 2
D’scharge (ma/s)
f’, _.._,_nm u-‘
‘ Moraine Dam
steep rise
Slow leakage Ige Dam
may take place Hydrqgraph
for many weeks
prior to main
|00d Steep falling
\ limb
O | 2
Time (in days)
Figure 9.2: Difference in release hydrograph between moraine- and ice-dammed lakes
The following methods have been proposed for estimation of peak discharges.
1) Clague and Mathews fonnula
Clague and Mathews (1973) were the first to show the relationship between the volume of
water released from ice-dammed lakes and peak flood discharges.

Qmax : 1 0%)O.67
Qnm = peak flood discharge (m3 s’l)
V0 = total volume of water drained out from lake (m3)
The above relationship was later modified by Costa (1988) as the peak discharge yielded
from the equation was higher than that measured for Flood Lake in British Columbia that
occurred in August 1979:
QW = 113<v0*10*‘>°-°“
Later Dcsloges et al. (1989) proposed:
This method of discharge prediction is not based on any physical mechanism, but seems
to give reasonable results.
2) Mean versus maximum discharge method
If the volume of water released by a flood and the flood duration are known, the mean
and peak discharges can be calculated. Generally the flood duration will not be known in
advance. Hence, this method cannot be used to determine the magnitude of future floods.
Observations of several outburst floods in North America, Iceland, and Scandinavia have
shown that peak discharges are between two to six times higher than the mean discharge
for the Whole event.
3) Slope area method
This method is based on measured physical parameters such as dimensions and slope of
channel during peak flood conditions from direct observations or geomorphological
Qmax : VA
The peak velocity is calculated by the Gauckler—Manning formula (Williams 1988)
V : I 0.67 S 0.50/n
= peak velocity
= bed slope for a 100m channel reach
= Manning’s roughness coefficient
= hydraulic radius of the channel
= A/p

A = cross-sectional area of the channel
p = perimeter of the channel under water
For sediment floored channels, bed roughness is mainly a function of bed material,
particle size, and bed fonn or shape and can be estimated from:
n = 0.0381) °~‘“
D = average intermediate axis of the largest particles on the channel floor.
Desloges et al. (1989) compared the results from all the three methods for a jokulhlaup
from the ice-dammed Ape Lake, British Columbia. All the methods gave comparable
0 The €Ilague and Mathews method gave a calculated peak discharge of 1680 i 380
m s” .
I The mean versus maximum discharge method gave 1080-3240 m3 s”].
0 The slope area method gave 1,534 and 1,155 n13 s’l at a distance of 1 and 12 km
from the outlet respectively.
These general relationships are useful for detennining the order of magnitude of initial
release that may propagate down the system. However, to predict the magnitude of future
floods, the first method should be applied, because volume of lake water can be estimated
in advance.
Attenuation of a peak discharge of l5,000—20,000m s’l has been reported for the Poiqu
River in Tibet (Sun Koshi in Nepal) within a distance of 50 km (XuDa0ming 1985).
During a GLOF, the flow velocity and discharge are exceptionally high and it becomes
practically impossible to carry out any measurement. Field observations after a GLOF
event have shown a much higher sediment concentration of rivers than before the GLOF
event (Electrowatt Engineering Service Ltd 1982; WECS 199521. WECS 1995a calculated
the volume of sediment as 22.5*104 m3 after the Chubung GLOF of Nepal in 1991. A
high concentration of 350,000 mg’l during a GLOF in the Indus River at Darband in 1962
is reported by Hewitt (1985).
Figure 9.3 gives a hypothetical GLOF illustration showing discharge and variation in
sediment concentration (WECS 1987a). The total sediment load is generally accepted as
the wash load, which moves through a river system and finally deposits in deltas. In
Bhutan, no measurements have been undertaken on total sediment during GLOF events,
however, rough estimates of total load during torrents can be made assuming a high
sediment concentrations (WECS 1987b). During a GLOF event, stones the size of small
houses can be easily moved (WECS 1987b). The relationship between flow velocity and
particle diameter can also be used to calculate the size of boulders that can be moved
during such events.

»- ‘mm > s mnmm
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CvLOFoutI:/us! (mdshdg 1 ) (Lmd‘m‘T.53h“) (Lmdshde’l”48hs) fi4nk!¢nlmd$l-fig)
sum GUAGING 5‘-“‘P”\d°d V l V V won
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30.0 e
GLOF surge
20.00 ‘
‘ 40.00
~*/ EmlofGL F
– 4 lids_ (2) +
mlfififiésm \ h i l 11¢ 2000
– t Lmdshde@ @1“\ naks * I/, J .
_____ _____ 4+2 V? ‘ 6_ $2 \ Flowxedwui 7 D
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lo 3. 4 5. 6. 7- 2
TIME (hours)
Figure 9.3: Hypothetical GLOF illustration showing discharge and variation in sediment concentration (WECS 1987a)

The impacts of GLOF events downstream are extensive in terms of damage to roads,
bridges, trekking trails, villages, agricultural land, natural vegtation, as well as the loss
of human lives and infrastructure. The sociological impacts can be direct when human
lives are lost or indirect when the agricultural lands are converted to debris filled lands
and the village has to be shified. The records of past GLOF events in the Himalayas show
that once every three to ten years, a GLOF has occurred with varying degrees of
socioeconomic impact. Therefore, the most appropriate mitigating methods must be
applied after conducting a proper hazard assessment study based on possible economic
loss evaluation.
Glacial lakes were fonned by the retreat of glaciers. Most of these lakes are dammed by
moraines. These moraine dams if unstable could fail and give rise to GLOF events,
having a devastating effect downstream. During recent decades there has been a rapid
retreat of glaciers all over the world. It has been observed that the glaciers in Himachal
Pradesh are also retreating but there are no systematic studies made to record the treat of
glaciers in Himachal Pradesh. However, recent evidences suggest that the glaciers are
melting and are thus retreating while fonning glacial lakes at the same time. These lakes
are sometimes situated at the headwaters of some of the rivers or their tributaries. If such
a lake burst then there may be a flood in the rivers downstream which can cause extensive
damage in the down valleys as these rivers flow through the inhabited valleys.
Unprecedented melting of glaciers and formation of artificial lakes in the higher reaches
of Himachal Pradesh has created a threat of flashfloods in the low lying areas resulting in
loss of human life, agricultural crops, land resources, hydroelectric projects and roads;
rock-fill dams are breached if the inflow of the torrent of debris cannot be accommodated
over the spillway, and lastly large reservoirs are rapidly filled with sediment. Over the
past several years, flashfloods in the Sutlej has claimed number of lives; feared to have
been caused either due to a cloud burst or breach of lake in the upper catchments. The
Manali and Kullu areas suffered widespread damage due to a flashflood in the Beas and
its tributaries a few years ago when the headquarters of the Snow and Avalanche Study
Establishment (SASE), which predicts such disasters, was itself devastated. For some
time in a year the rivers originating in the Himalayas are expected to swell abnormally
and then fall to dangerously low levels (Shanna, 2001). It is, however, imponant to
distinguish whether the cause of flash floods in the Sutlej are bursting of glacial lakes or
cloudburst in the Tibetan Plateau. Some recent flood events in the Satluj basin are listed
On August ll, 1997, the Panvi Khud, a small nullah originating up in the Shatul Ghati
brought tons of debris with it and blocked the mighty Sutlej for several days (Sharma,
1997, Bahuguna, 1997). Six major bridges were washed away, cutting the Kinnaur from
rest of the country and eroding about 6 km of the NH 22. Big boulders and gavel buried
the small habitation and ll persons at Wangtu. A big lake was fonned at Wangtu due to

blockage of the Sutlej. For several days people made their way to Kinnaur by crossing the
artificial lake by boat.
On the same night at 8 p.m. the Andhra Khud flowing on the backside of the same
mountain range washed away a roadside township of Chirgaon with more than 300
inhabitants. A considerable loss did occur on the same night by the Nogli Khud
originating from the same ridge. Andhra Power House (17 MW) and Nogli Power House
(2.5 MW) suffered heavy losses and did not generate electricity for about one year.
The local people and geologists agree that the flash flood was caused by a cloudburst on
the Shatul Ghati (4640 m), which divides the Sutlej and Pabbar water catchment areas.
However, no study using satellite or remote sensing data was conducted to ascertain the
formation of clouds that might have precipitated into torrential rain. Referring to a
confidential report by the geologists a news item said that, “Several people lost their lives
in the flash floods which resulted from a cloud burst on August 11. The geologists opine
that had there been no human interference with the original course of Andhra Khud, the
tragedy could have been averted.” (Sharnn, 1997- The Indian Express: 25.10.97). Both
sides of Shatluj Ghati, the elevation of the mountains go up to 5260 m. It is the
Hansbeshan (5240 m) mountain that feeds to all the three rivers (Panvi, Andhra and
Nogli). that caused major damage on August ll, Thus the probability of the excessive
melting of snow on Hansbeshan cannot be ruled out as the cause of the devastating flood.
The third incident that brought a high column of water on the August 1, 2000 occurred far
away at the origin of Sutlej in Mt. Kailash (Annonymous, 2000). However, the major loss
took place in the region between Rampur and Wangtu. The damage may have run into
several crores as direct loss to the Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Project. The other major
loss was the delay in completion of the project. It was estimated that each day the state
would loose Rs. 5 crore if there is delay in the completion of the project by the stipulated
The recent most cloudburst incident in the Shimla region was probably the Chirgaon-
Wangtu-Nogli tragedy of Augmst 1997. Frequent avalanches killed many people in
Guskair village in Lahul & Spiti District (H.P) on 03 March 1979; Pin valley of Spiti
stuck by avalanche in 1978; Kalpa, the old headquarter of Kinnaur district has always
been under constant threat of avalanches (Shanna, 2003, Snow and Avalanche Study in
Himachal Pradesh).
On August 1, 2000, Satluj deposited more than 200 people with their material possessions
in the deep Waters of Govind sagar- a big reservoir on river Satluj (Shanna, 2000).
Rumors galore, that Mansarover was hit at one of its comer causing release of more
volume of water and therefore the rise in water level of Sutlej. Only a fraction is coming
on our side the rest is going toward China. Some had to say that China released water
from one of its dams (Pirta, 2001).
According to the News bulletin of the Worldwatch Institute, March 6, 2000 ” within the
next 35 years, the Himalayan glacial area alone is expected to shrink by one-fifth”
(Mastny, 1999). For some time the rivers originating in the Himalayas are expected to
swell abnormally and then fall to dangerously low levels. The report also wams about the
bursting of glacial lakes. Therefore it is important to distinguish whether the cause of

recent flash flood in the Sutlej was bursting of glacial lake or cloudburst in the Tibetan
Plateau. Although scientists must find out the causes of draught and flood that engulf
large parts of the state every year, a much greater challenge is our preparedness to combat
such tragedies.

Chapter 10
Potentially Dangerous Glacial Lakes
On the basis of actively retreating glaciers and other criteria, the potentially dangerous
glacial lakes can be identified using the spatial and attribute database complemented by
multi- temporal, rem0te—sensing data sets. Medium to large scale aerial photographs are
also usefill for detailed geomorphic studies and for evaluation of the active glaciers and
potentially dangerous lakes.
In general, based on geomorphic characteristics, glacial lakes can be grouped into three
types: glacial erosion lakes, glacial Cirque lakes, and moraine-dammed lakes. The former
two types of glacial lakes occupy the lowlands or emptying Cirques eroded by ancient
glaciers. These glacial lakes are more or less located away from present-day glaciers and
the downstream banks are usually made of bedrock or covered with a thinner layer of
loose sediment. Both of these glacial lakes do not generally pose an outburst danger. On
the other hand, the moraine-dammed glacial lakes have the potential for bursting. A
standard index to define a lake that is a source of potential danger because of possible
bursting does not exist.
Moraine-dammed glacial lakes, which are still in contact or very near to the glaciers, are
usually dangerous. The present study defines all the lakes formed by the activity of
glaciers including in the past as ‘glacial lakes’. Moraine-dammed glacial lakes are
usually dangerous. These glacial lakes were partly formed between present-day glaciers
and Little Ice Age moraine. The depositions of Little Ice Age moraines are usually about
300 years old, form high and narrow arch-shaped ridges usually with a height of 2(P
150m, and often contain dead glacier ice layers beneath them. These end moraines are
loose and unstable in nature. The advance and retreat of the glacier affect the hydrology
between the present-day glacier and the lake dammed by the moraines. Sudden natural
phenomena with a direct effect on a lake, like ice avalanches or rock and lateral moraine
material collapsing on a lake, cause moraine breaches with subsequent lake outburst
events. Such phenomena have been well known in the past in several cases of moraine-
dammed lakes, although the mechanisms at play are not fully understood.
The criteria for identifying the potentially dangerous glacial lakes are based on field
observations, processes and records of past events, geomorphic and geotechnical
characteristics of the lake and surroundings, and other physical conditions.
Rise in Lake Water Level
In general, the lakes, which have a volume of more than 0.01 km3 are found to have past
events. A lake, which has a larger volume, is deeper, with the deeper part near the dam
(lower part of lake) rather than near the glacier tongue, and has rapid increase in lake
water volume is an indication that a lake is potentially dangerous.

Activity of Supraglacial Lakes
As time passes, groups of closely spaced supraglacial lakes of smaller size at glacier
tongues merge and form bigger lakes. Using temporal satellite images one can identify
the successive merging of supraglacial lakes and the formation of a bigger lake. These
activities of Supraglacial lakes are indications that the lakes are becoming potentially
Position of Lakes
The potentially dangerous lakes are generally at the lower part of the ablation area of the
glacier near to the end moraine, and the mother glacier should be sufficiently large to
create a potentially dangerous lake environment. Regular monitoring needs to be carried
out for such lakes with the help of multi- temporal satellite images, aerial photographs,
and field observations.
In general, the potentially dangerous status of moraine-dammed lakes can be defined by
the conditions of the damming material and the nature of the mother glacier. The valley
lakes with an area bigger than 0.1 kmz and a distance less than 0.5 km from the mother
glacier of considerable size are considered to be potentially dangerous. Cirque lakes even
smaller than 0.1 kmz associated (in contact or distance less than 0.5 km) with steep
hanging glaciers are considered to be potentially dangerous. Even the smaller size steep
hanging glacier may pose a danger to the lake.
Dam Conditions
The natural conditions of the moraine damming the lake determine the lake stability. The
lake stability will be less if the moraine dam has a combination of the following
– narrower in the crest area
– no drainage outflow or outlet not well defined
– steeper slope of the moraine walls
o ice cored
– very tall (from toe to crest)
– mass movement or potential mass movement in the inner slope
and/or outer slope
o breached and closed in the past and refilled again with water
– seepage flow at moraine walls
A moraine-dammed lake, which has breached and closed subsequently in the past and has
refilled again with water, can breach again. Nagma Pokhari Lake in the Tamor basin of
Nepal burst out in 1980. The study of recent aerial photographs and satellite images
shows a very quick regaining of lake water volume. Zhangzangbo Lake in the Poiqu basin
in Tibet (China) burst out in 1964 and again in 1981. Recent satellite images show that
the lake has refilled with water and, therefore, could pose danger. Ayaco Lake in the
Pumqu basin in Tibet (China) burst out in 1968, 1969, and 1970 and at present it is
refilled again with water and poses danger. Similarly in Pakistan in 1884 an ice dam burst
in the Shimshal valley, a northern tributary of the Hunza River and led to a three-metre

rise in the river level causing considerable devastation at Ganesh and Baltit. This was
followed by a similar event in 1893 and then again in 1905. The latter sent a 9 m flood
wave down the Hunza, causing landslips. In the following year the Shimshal caused an
even bigger flood than that of 1905, raising the Hunza by over 15 m above its normal
summer flood level at Chalt. A lake formed again in the Shimshal valley and water began
to flow over the top of the icedam on 28 May and breached on 10 June. Regular
monitoring of such lakes is necessary using multi-temporal satellite images.
Conditions of Associated Mother Glacier
Generally, the bigger Valley Glaciers with tongues reaching an elevation of below 5,000
masl have well-developed glacial lakes. Even the actively retreating and steep hanging
glaciers on the banks of lakes may be a potential cause of danger. The following general
characteristics of associated mother glaciers can create danger to moraine-dammed lakes:
– hanging glacier in contact with the lake,
o bigger glacier area,
– fast retreating,
– debris cover at glacier tongue area,
– steep gradient at glacier tongue area,
– presence of crevasses and ponds at glacier tongue area,
– toppling/collapses of glacier masses at the glacier tongue, and
– ice blocks draining to lake.
Physical Conditions of the Surrounding Area
Besides moraines, mother glaciers, and lake conditions, and other physical conditions of
the surrounding area as given below may also cause the lake to be potentially dangerous:
o potential rockfall/slide (mass movements) site around the lake which can fall into
the lake suddenly,
– snow avalanches of large size around the lake which can fall into the lake
– neo-tectonic and earthquake activities around or near the lake area,
– climatic conditions of successive years being a relatively wet and cold year
followed by a hot and wet or hot and dry year,
o very recent moraines damming the lake at the tributary glaciers that used to be just
a part of a former complex of Valley Glacier middle moraines as a result of the
fast retreat of a complex mother Valley Glacier, and
– sudden advance of a glacier towards the lower tributary or the mother glacier
having a well-developed lake at its tongue

For identification of potentially dangerous glacial lakes, the glacial lakes associated with
glaciers such as Supraglacial Valley, Cirque and /or dammed by lateral moraine or end
moraine with an area larger than 0.02 k have been considered and they have been
defined as major glacial lakes. The details of the major lakes of all the five basins are
included in the Annex.
10.2.1 Beas River basin
A total of 22 major lakes of different categories have been identified. The major lake of
all these categories has an area of more than 0.2 sq km. The Valley lakes are large in size
since the largest lake of this category, is Pong reservoir (beas_gl 59), has an area of about
232.9 sq km. Though it is an artificial lake dammed for the Hydropower and irrigation
purpose. The second largest lake is beas_gl 56, which is naturally formed in the valley
has an area of 1.72 sq km. Among the major lakes there are altogether eight moraine
dammed lakes, 2 supraglacial lakes, 6 valley lakes, 2 lateral moraine dammed and 2 each
of erosion and blocked lakes (Table 10.1). The blocked lakes and Erosion lakes are
formed due to the glacial erosion and blocking due to debris of little ice age. These lakes
are not directly associated with the glaciers in the present day. Rest except the Valley
Lakes had association with the parent glaciers at a distance of attached to less than 500m.
£1 £1 .1 _u

Table 10.1: Major lakes of Beas River basin
S.N Lake Type
Area Associated t Remarks
(sq m) Glacier 0.
1 Blocked
beas_g1 1
beas_gr 41
No hanging glacier, Lake
formed due to retreating of
the glacier.
2 L M dammed
beas_gl 2
beas_gr 41
Very small hanging glacier
left due to glacier retreated
|3 | Vafley
beas_gl 4
| 39s12|
beas_gr 42
Away from the main chanel
4 dammed
beas_gl 1 1
beas_gr 82
Hanging glacier is small and
the lakes is formed at the
base ofthe slo@
5 dammed
beas_gl 12
beas_g1’ 84
Hanging glacier is small and
the lakes is formed at the
base ofthe slope
6 dammed
beas_gl 17
beas_gr 124
Formed due to the glacier
retreat, not in the glacier
flow path
7 Erosion
beas_gl 20
beas_gr 126
Not in the flow path ofthe
8 L Morainee
beas_gl 21
beas_gr 128
Not in the flow path ofthe
9 Supraglacial
beas_gl 22
165 849
bcas_gr 128
Valley type already
indication of outburst and
now in the depression
10 Valley
beas_gl 30
beas_gr 21 5
In the valley, away from the
hanging glacier
11 Supraglacial
beas_g1 35
beas_gr 230
In the valley, away from the
hanging glacier
12 Valley
beas_g1 36
beas_gr 233
In the valley, away from the
hanging glacier
13 Blocked
beas_gl 37
beas_gr 233
In the valley, away from the
hanging glacier
beas_g1 39
beas_gr 273
Close to the hanging glacier
I5 dammed
beas_g1 42
beas_gr 273
Close to the hanging glacier
16 dammed
beas_gl 51
beas_gr 354
Close to the hanging glacier
beas_g1 54
beas_gr 3 5 6
Close to the hanging glacier
18 dammed
beas_gl 55
beas_gr 3 5 7
Close to the hanging glacier
19 Valley
beas_gl 56
| |664444|
Away from the glacier
20 Valley
beas_g1 57
I 422s4o|
Away from the glacier
21 Erosion
beas_gl 58
| 41404|
Away from the glacier
22 Valley
beas_gl 59
Artificial lake
Out of the 22 major lakes, based on the above-mentioned parameter for the identification
of the potential danger glacial lakes, there are altogether 5 potential danger glacial lakes
in the Beas River basin (Table 10.2). The lake types in the danger category are of
Moraine dammed lakes. All these potential danger lakes are situated close to the
retreating glacier.

S‘ Lake
N Number
Table 10.2: Potential danger glacial lakes of Bcas River basin
Latitude and Longitude
Area Associated Dlsrance Area ofthe
. 0 .
(sq m) Glacier Glacier Glacier
1 | beas_gl 39
3l°55’0l,49″N, 77°3l’5 l .84“E
2016e| beas_gr273 | 0| 1840961
2 | beas gl42
31°54‘57.44″N, 77°31‘O8.62″E
22512 I beas gr 273 I 124| 1840961
3 | beas_g| 51
3l°40’l1.08″N 77°37’l3.93″E
43028 | beas_gr 354 | 69 | 321135
4 | beas_gl 54
31°4O‘15.43″N, 77°35‘57.62″E
24659 | beas_gr356 | 0 | 270010
5 I beas gl 55
3l°40’l6.02″N, 77°35’3l.67″E
27062| beas gr357 I 52| 252138
All the potential danger lakes are situated within the fast retreating glaciers and the lakes
are rapidly increasing. The details of each potentially dangerous lake are included in table
10.2. These potentially dangerous lakes are located in the central westem part and the
southeastern part of the basin (Figure 10.1). The five potential danger glacial lakes in the
catergory of Moraine dammed lakes are beas_g1 39, beas_gl 42, beas_gl 51, beas gl 54
and beas_gl 55 which are associated with the glaciers beas_gr 273, beas_gr 273, l£as_gr
354, beas_gr 356 and beas_gr 357 respectively. All the associated glaciers are
characterized in hanging nature close to the glacial lakes.
/V ~-.
1 \ r-’ 1
/ _ I ;.\
,\ ;~>
3 ‘ ‘t l\ l
4} .>\f’, “:7,._ I‘T\_j’ ._.; , ~\_~A4flJ ~~*_.
-1- +51‘ 11 .’ \_
\_,_\ ‘_ _
i._,._ . ‘-1” .1 -‘
\. “L k
, .
\-1 54;.-“1
L k ‘\\ ‘ l J
a E5
i‘ ,”/L7 (” 7’
\ – “1 1″‘
Basin Bouidary _.J’V L /1./1
If I
° Distribution of potential danger lake
Fig. 10.2 Distribution of potential danger Lakes ofBeas River basin
10.2.2 Satluj River basin
‘ lb
– 1..

5;‘ Li Q;
. \
_;‘.\__i _/I

Out of 40 lakes of this basin 14 lakes are characterized as major lakes (Table 10.3). The
moraine dammed type lakes are maximum (8) followed by Erosion lakes and Valley lakes
(3 each). Though the glaciers in the basin are 945 and among them only 13 glaciers are
valley type and in these glaciers not a single supraglacial lakes are in the category of
major glacial lakes. The largest lake is Satluj_gl 40 has an area of 135.79 sq. km, which is
an artificial lake made for the purpose of hydropower and irrigation damming the Satluj
river. The largest glacial lake in this basin is 0.058 sq km of Moraine dammed lake.
Comparatively the lakes in this basin are not bigger and mostly isolated due to the
retreating of the glacier.
Table 10.3: Major lakes 0fSatluj River basin
Lake Type
Lake Area Associated Distance
Number (sq m) Glacier 0.
Satluj_gl 1
Away from the glacier, situated
in the main course of the river
M dammed
Satluj_gl 7
satluj_gr 116
Formed due to retreat of glacier
and chances ofexpansion
M dammed
Satluj_gl 9
Not in the main stream flow so
less chances ofexpansion
M dammed
Satluj_gl 10
satluj_gr 183
Formed due to retreat of glacier
and chances ofgrowing the
M dammed
Satluj_gl 13
satluj_gr 692
Close to the hanging glacier
Satluj_gl l 8
| 34504
| 52706
satluj_gr 739 l
Mother glacier is very small
M dammed
Satluj_gl 2 5
satluj_gr 749
Isolated from the glacier due to
M dammed
Sat1uj_gl 2 6
22 800
satluj_gr 756
Glacier channel is narrow and
less chances ofice avalanche
M dammed
Satluj_gl 29
satluj_gr 769
Away from the main channel
and glacier
M dammed
Satlu_i_gl 34
sat1uj_gr 865
Isolated from the glacier due to
| Valley
Satluj gl 37
I 24081
satluj gr 936 |
Away from the glacier
Satluj_gl 38
Isolated from the glacier due to
Satluj_g| 39
Isolated from the glacier due to
| Valley
Satluj_gl 40
I 13s794075| Nonel -I
Artificial lake
Though the lakes are smaller in size, on the basis of above mentioned criteria in the
identification of the potential danger glacial lakes, only three lakes are identified as a
potentially dangerous glacial lakes. All those potential danger lakes are of Moraine
dammed type at the distance of less than 600m from the associated glaciers. The glacial
lake satluj_gl 7 satluj_gl 10 and satluj_gl 13 are associated with the glaciers satluj_gr
116, satluj_gr 183 and satluj_gr 692 respectively (Table 10.4).

Table 10.4: Potentially Dangerous Glacial lakes of Satluj River basin
Lake Lam d dL it d Area Associated Dlsttanc Area ofthe
Number u ean Ong U e (sq m) Glacier Gfager Glacier
Satluj_gl7 31°45’44.73″N,78°06‘44.25″E 27779 satluj_gr116| 571| 112205
Satluj_g11O 32°00‘37186″N, 78°23‘24162″E 58659 sat1uj_g1’183 | 139| 1041412
Satluj_g113 32°15’57,63″N,78°23’03.14″E 34504 sat1uj_gr692 I 69| 795397

_ ii, ~
as if
, R ‘ _ _\‘
/Egg. ii:
4% K’ Q
)6 I~\
_ Lakes
i Ridges
i Basin Boundaiy
° Distribution of potential danger lake
0 50000
Fig, 10.4: Potential danger Glacial Lakes of Satluj Basin
10.2.3 Ravi River Basin
Out of 17 lakes in the Ravi River basin a total of 7 lakes comes into the category of
major glacial lakes (Table 10.5). Maximum number of these are Erosion lakes (3),
followed by two valley lakes and one lake each if cirque and blocked type. The largest
lake in this river basin is ravi_gl 2 of Valley type, which is also a man made dammed lake
in the Valley for the purpose of Hydropower and Irrigation. The next largest lake is
ravi_gl 3, which has an area of 0.059 sq. km of Erosion type and it is associated with
ravi_gr 25 glacier. Most of the lakes in this basin are away from the main channel of the
river flow. Though there are 198 glaciers with 7 Valley type glaciers where only one
supraglacial lake is of mapable size.

Table 10.5: Major lakes of Ravi River basin
Lake Type
(Sq m)
Ravi_gl 2
Away from the glacier and
artificial lake
Ravi_gl 3
Ravi_gr 25
Isolated and away from the
Ravi_gl 7
Ravi_gr 100
Not in the main course of the
Ravi_gl 9
Ravi_gl’ 123
Not in the main course of the
Ravi_gl 10
Ravi_gr 1 4 8
Parent glacier is very small due
to retreat
Ravi_gl 12
Ravi £1’ 177
Not in the main course of the
Ravi_gl 13
Ravi_gr 1 84
Lake will be expanding in the
course ofretreat ofglacier
Out of these 7 major lakes only one lake is characterized as potentially dangerous lake
(Table 10.6). The lakes in the Ravi River basin are mostly isolated, away from the glacier
and smaller in size. The Ravi_gl 13 lake is the potential danger glacial lake identified in
the Ravi River basin. It has the association with the glacier Ravi_gr 184 at a distance of
76m distance (Figure 10.7).
Table 10.6 Potentially Dangerous Glacial lakes of Ravi River basin
Lake Latitude and Longitude Area Associated Distance Area ofthe
Number (sq m) Glacier to Glacier Glacier
9 | Ravi 2113 32°15‘40.69″N, 76°44‘24.84″E| 57513 Ravi 2,134 | 76_0| 498103.77

Figure 10.5: Potentially dangerous End Moraine Dammed lakes in Ravi River basin
/Jail »i~
1» ,,> -.
2 Lakes J J”; N H‘
i Ridges gx _ / t
i Basin Boundary \*\/‘\/)_L\”“’/\”‘
° Distribution of potential danger lake
0 25000
Figure 10.6: Potential danger Glaciers and Glacial lakes of Ravi basin.
10.2.4 Chenab River basin
In the Chenab River basin, since most of the northern part is covered by large ice mass
and large sized glaciers so out of 33 lakes, only 15 lakes are characterized as major glacial
lakes. There are 6 Moraine dammed lakes, 3 suprglacial lakes, 3 Valley laeks, 2 Blocked
lakes and 1 Erosion lake. The largest lake in the basin is Chenab_gl 19 with area coverage
of 911042 sq metres. Most of the blocked lake and Supraglacial lakes are situated close
to the glaciers. In this area also shows the fast retreat of glaciers and formation of lakes
due to retreat of glaciers.

Table 10.7: Major lakes of Chenab River basin
S.N Lake Type
(Sq m)
1 dammed
chenab_gl 7
Chenab_gr 319
Left lateral moraine is thin,
retreating ofglaeier
indicates that lake will be
2 Erosion
chenab_gl 9
Chenab_gr 335
Isolated away from the
glacier bounded by hard
3 Supraglacial
chenab_gl l0
Chenab_gr 3 3 6
Moraine is very thick
compared to the lake, clear
indication ofoutlet from the
lake and outburst in the past
4 Supraglacial
chenab_gl 1 1
Chenab_gr 347
Moraine is very thick
compared to the lake,
indication ofoutburst in the
chenab_gl I4
Chenab_gr 400
Outlet is good, at present,
high chances of lake
expansion due to glacier
6 Supraglacial
chenab_gl 1 5
Chenab_gr 400
Downstream also debris
covered glacier
7 Valley
chenab_gl 16
Away from the main course
ofthe channel
8 Blocked
chenab_gl 18
Chenab_gr 467
Away from the main course
ofthe channel
9 dammed
chenab_g| I9
Chenab_gr 467
Outlet is good, at present,
high chances oflake
expansion due to glacier
10 Valley
chenab_gl 20
Chenab_gr 491
Indication ofoutburst in the
_past, wide drainage
11 Valley
chenab_gl 21
Chenab_gr 493
Away from the glacier with
the wide drainage
12 dammed
chenab_gl 22
Chenab_gr 494
Indication ofoutburst in the
past, chances of lake
expansion due to glacier
13 dammed
chenab_gl 25
12463 1
Chenab_gr 495
Indication of outburst in the
past, chances of lake
expansion due to glacier
14 dammed
chenab_gl 31
Chenab_gr 549
Thick moraine with good
15 Blocked
chenab_gl 32
Away from the glacier and
not the flow path of main

Table 10.8: Potential danger glacial lakes of Chenah River basin
SN Number
Latitude and Longitude
(Sq m)
Distance Area ofthe
to Glacier Glacier sq m
1 | chenabjl7
32°50’05,60″N, 77°09’17.67″E
Chenab_gr 319
13s.0| 1043253
2 | chenab_gl 14
32°34‘55.86″N, 77°l l‘l5.06″E
Chenab_gr 400
0.0 | 23061794
3 | chenab g1l9
32°33’03.70″N, 77°31‘25.98″E
Chenah gr 467
0.0 I 106070981
32°47’32.85″N, 77°22’32.63“E
Chenab_gr 494
60.0 | 561323
4 | chenab_gl22
5 | chenab gl25
32°47’3 1 .09″N, 77°20’49.70″E
Chenah gr 495
0.0 I 1355072
There are altogether five glacial lakes are identified as a potential danger. These lakes are
chenab_gl 7, chenab_gl 14, che nab_gl 19, chenab_gl 22 and chenab_gl 25 associated
with the glaciers Chenab_gr 319, Chenab_gr 400, Chenab_gr 467, Chenab_gr 494 and
Chenab_gr 495, respectively, at the distance close to less than 140 m. All the identified
potential danger lakes are of Moraine dammed lake.
Figure 10.7: Potential danger lake in Chenab River basin

5} 5)

IJ .
‘£ A
4»>5~; >)-1’\ *3“;
/ 3?‘? } . ’
/ ‘ ‘ H. L
§j \<=.
-,>’;% My
77 \
2 Lakes , ~
i Ridges
i Basin Boundary
Distribution of potential danger lake
0 25000
10.9: Potential danger Glacial Lakes of Chenab Basin

10.2.5 Sub-basin 2
Only three major glacial lakes are identified in the Sub-basin 2. Out of which two are of
Moraine dammed and one is Blocked Lake. The largest lake is sub-basin2_gl 2, which
has an area of 52793 square metre (Table 10.5).
Table 10.9: Major glacial lakes of Sub basin 2
S‘ Lk T Lake Am‘ A ‘tdG1 ‘ mime R 1<
N 3 € yp€ Number (S m) SSOCla€ aCl€T O emar
q Glacier
1 Momm Sub-basin2 1 46676 Northern basin 2 7 0 Lake is growing very fast
dammed — —
2 i Morain i Sub-basin2Z i 52793 Northern basin 29 i 96 Lake is growing very fast
dammed – –
Not in the main course of
3 i Blocked i Sub-basin25 i 23171 No11hern_basin_2 45 i 303 .
the glacier
Though the lakes are not very large but due to the fast trend of retreat of the glacier
indicates the fast expansion of the lakes. So out ofthree major glacial lakes two are
identified as a potential danger lakes in this basin and both of these lakes are of Moraine
dammed lakes close to the associated glacier.
Table 10.10: Potentially Dangerous Glacial lakes 0f Sub-basin 2
S. Lake Latitude and Longitude Area Associated Distance Area ofthe
N Number (sq m) Glacier to Glacier
1 Sub-basin2 1| 32°12’31.<>x”1\1, 78°27’16,29″E| 46676 Northern_basin_27| 0 | 202008
2 Sub-basin22| 32°13’05.47″N,78°26’01.32″E| 52793 Northern_basin_29| 96 | 111430

Figure 10.10: Potential danger lakes in the Sub—basin2

I/\ V. –
Basin Boundary
‘ Distribution of potential danger lake
0 25000
10.11 Potential Danger Glacial Lakes of Subbasin 2
2 Lakes ,
-i Ridges X‘/\ ;

10.2.6 Summary
Altogether there are 156 glacial lakes in Himachal Pradesh, among them l4l lakes are
associated With glaciers. The lakes are classified according to the distance from the
glaciers. As the lakes get closer to the glacier and are affected by the different parameters
mentioned above, the lakes will be potentially dangerous. Among the glacier associated
glacial lakes, 49 lakes are at a distance of less than 50m. The lakes are also classified into
different types for the identification of potentially dangerous lakes (Tablel0.l 1). There
are different types of lakes associated with glaciers: end moraine-dammed lakes, lateral
moraine-dammed lakes, supraglacial lakes, blocked lakes, valley trough lakes, cirque
lakes, and erosion lakes. Among these lakes, moraine-dammed lakes and blocked lakes
are susceptible to breach out easily due to different phenomena. Supraglacial lakes, when
they start merging with one another to fonn a larger lake and finally change into a
moraine-dammed lake, become dangerous.
The study of topographic maps, satellite images, and field infonnation showed that most
of the identified potentially dangerous lakes started to form more than 40 years ago.

Basm Beas Ravl Chenab Satlu] Sub Basm 1 Sub Basm 2 Sub Basln 3 Sub Basln 4
Table ltl ll Sumnmn of laku with their dasslfiuatlons 1n the b£lSll1§ a|1(lsub-luslnsuf thc H1n1aclulPra(luh
Area of largest lake (m2) 23290122255 ss49s21.5s| 911042.63 | 1357<>4074.5| 52793.4o| 15525.52 |
Area of smallest lake (m2) 2472.22 575.94 I 3409.04 I 17so.7o I 9322.09 I 15523.52 |
Distance from < 50m 25 1 I 13 I 8 I 2| 0|
1 . 5()—500m 20 2| 9| 1s| 3| 0|
g amer
50(¥5000m 2 7| 9| 14 | 0| 0|
Blocked Lakes 3 I | 2| 3 | 2| 0|
Cirque Lakes 2 2 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 0 |
Erosion Lakes 12 6 | 3 | 4 | 0 | 0 |
Lateral moraine Lakes 3 0 | 0 | O | 0 | 0 |
Moraine dammed Lakes 2| 1 | I5 | ZUI 3 | 0|
Supraglacial Lakes ll 0 | 9 | 6 | 1 | O |
Valley Lakes 7 | 7| 3 | 5 | 0| 1 |
Total number oflakes 59 17 | 33 | 40 | 6 | 1 |

Table 10.12: Potentially dal1gel‘011s glacial lakes in llimaclml Pradesli
Latitude Longitude (m) (m2)
Beas Basin
1 I beas_gl 39
I 31°55’01.49″N, 77°31‘51.84″E
237.1 I
2 I beas_g142
I 31 54’57.44’ N, 77°31’O8.62″E
178.2 I
3 I beas_gl 51
I 31°40’11.08″N, 77°37‘13.93″E
449.2 I
4 I beas_g1 54
I 31°40’15143’ N, 77°35‘57.62″E
410.5 I
5 I beas g155
I 31°40’16.02″N, 77°35‘3 l .67″E
Satluj River Basin
6 I Sat1uj_g17
I 31°45’44.73″N, 78°06’44.25″E
262.1 I
7 I Satluj_g] 10
I 32°00’37.86″N, 78°23’24.62″E
384.6 I
8 I Sat1uj_g1 13
I 32°15’57.63″N, 78°23’03.14″E
325.9 I
Ravi River basin
9 I Ravi_g1 13
I 32°15’40.69″N, 76°44’24.84″E
272.5 I
Chenah River Basin
10 I chenab_g1 7
I 32°5O’O5.82″N, 77°09’17.65″E
11 I chenab gl 14
I 32°34’58.I0″N 77°1I’15.66″E
12 I c1lenab_g1 19
I 32°33’03.81″N, 77°31’26.00″E
2029.1 I
13 I cllenab_gl 22
I 32°47’33.36″N, 77°22’32.24″E
534.2 I
14 I chenab_g1 25
I 32°47’31.43‘ N, 77°20’49.55″E
429.2 I
Sub-basin2 (Takling la)
15 I Sub-basin2 1
I 32°12’3 1 .98″N, 78°27’16.29″E
513.3 I
16 I sub-665162 2
I 32°13’05.47″N, 78°26’O1.32″E
414.7 I

Chapter 1 1
Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Mitigation
Measures, Monitoring and Early Warning System
There are several possible methods for mitigating the impact of Glacial Lake Outburst
Flood (GLOF) surges, for monitoring, and for early warning systems. The most important
mitigation measure for reducing GLOF risk is to reduce the volume of water in the lake in
order to reduce the peak surge discharge.
Downstream in the GLOF prone area, measures should be taken to protect infrastructure
against the destructive forces of the GLOF surge. There should be monitoring systems
prior to, during, and after construction of infrastructures and settlements in the
downstream area.
Careful evaluation by detailed studies of the lake, mother glaciers, damming materials,
and the surrounding conditions are essential in choosing an appropriate method and in
starting any mitigation measure. Any measure taken must be such that it should not create
or increase the risk of a GLOF during and after the mitigation measures are in place.
Physical monitoring systems of the dam, lake, mother glacier, and surroundings are
necessary at different stages during and after the mitigation process.
Possible peak surge discharge from a GLOF could be reduced by reducing the volume of
water in the lake. In general any one or combination of the following methods may be
applied for reducing the volume of water in the lake:
0 controlled breaching,
0 construction of an outlet control structure,
0 pumping or siphoning out the water from the lake, and
0 making a tunnel through the moraine barrier or under an ice dam.
Controlled breaching
Controlled breaching is carried out by blasting, excavation, or even by dropping bombs
from an aircraii. One of the successful examples has been that reported for Bogatyr Lake
in Alatau, Kazakhastan (Nurkadilov et al. l986). An outflow channel was excavated
using explosives and 7 million cubic metres of water was successfully released in a period
of two days. These methods, however, can give strong, uncontrolled regressive erosion of
the moraine wall causing a fast lowering of the lake level. Liboutry et al. (l977a, b, c)
described a case from Peru of the sudden discharge of 6-10 million cubic metres of water
after two years of careful cutting of a trench in the moraine wall.

Construction of an outlet control structure
For more permanent and precise control of lake outflows, rigid structures made out of
stone, concrete, or steel can be used. However, the construction and repairs of the
required mitigation works at high elevations, in difficult terrain conditions and in glacial
lake areas far from road points and not easily accessed, will cause logistic difficulties.
Therefore, preference should be given to construction materials available locally such as
boulders and stones. The boulders on the moraine walls can be held in place by wire mesh
(‘gabion’) and/or held down by appropriate anchors.
Open cuts in a moraine dam can be excavated during the dry season when a lake’s water
level is lower than during the wet season. Such a method is risky as any displacement
wave arising from an ice avalanche can rip through the cut and breach the moraine. This
method should be attempted where there is no risk of avalanches into the lake.
Pumping or siphoning out the water from the lake
Examples given by Lliboutry et al. (l977a, b, c) from Peru and the pumping programme
for the control of Spirit Lake after the eruption of Mount St Helens in Washington State
in the USA are very costly because of the large amount of electricity needed for the
powerful pumps. The pumping facility consisted of 20 pumps with a total capacity of 5
m3 s’l and the cost of the pumping plant, operation, and maintenance for about 30 months
was approximately US $11 million (Sager and Chambers 1986).
In the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, there is no hydroelectric power distribution at high
altitudes nor a simple means of transporting fuel to high elevations. Many of the lakes are
higher than the maximum flying altitude for helicopters.
The use of a turbine, propelled by the water force at the outside of the moraine dam, will
lower the energy costs. The problem of coupling the turbine and the pumps has to be
Siphons with manageable component size are attractive in that they are readily
transportable, relatively easy to install, and can be very effective for smaller size lakes.
Making a tunnel through the moraine dam
Tunnelling through moraines or debris barriers, although risky and difficult because of
the type of material blocking the lake, has been carried out in several countries. In Peru,
Lliboutry et al. (l977a, b, c) reported problems related to tunnelling through a moraine
dam which had been severely affected by an earthquake.
Tunneling can only be carried out through competent rock beneath or beside a moraine
dam. The costs of such a method are very high. Unfoflunately, not all moraine dams are
suitable for tunneling.
The construction of tunnels would pose difficulties in the Himalayas due to the high cost
of transporting construction materials and equipment to high elevations.

Any existing and potential source of a larger snow and ice avalanche, slide, or rockfall
around the lake area which has a direct impact on the lake and dam has to be studied in
detail. Preventative measures against the instabilities of the moraine dam and the
surrounding area, such as removing masses of loose rocks to ensure there will be no
avalanches into the lake, will reduce to some extent the danger of GLOF.
The sudden hydrostatic and dynamic forces generated by a rapid moving shock wave can
be difficult to accommodate by conventionally designed river structures such as diversion
weirs, intakes, bridges, settlements on the river banks, and so on. It will be necessary to
build bridges with appropriate flow capacities and spans at elevations higher than those
expected under GLOF events. The NepakChina highway, after reconstruction, has arched
bridges well above the 1981 GLOF levels. Also, the road has been moved to higher levels
and has gabion protection at the base of the embankments. Settlements should not be built
at or near low river terraces but at heights well above the riverbed in an area with GLOF
potential. Slopes with potential or old landslides and scree slopes on the banks of the river
near settlements should be stabilised. It is essential that appropriate warning devices for
GLOF events be developed in such areas.
A programme of monitoring GLOF s throughout the state should be implemented using a
multi-stage approach, multi-temporal data sets, and multi-disciplinary professionals.
Focus should first be on the known potentially dangerous lakes and the river systems on
which infrastructure is developed. Monitoring, mitigation, and early warning system
programmes could involve several phases as follow.
I Detailed inventory and development of a spatial and attribute digital database of
the glaciers and glacial lakes using reliable medium- to large-scale (1:63,360 to
l:10,000) topographic maps
0 Updating of the inventory of glaciers and glacial lakes and identification of
potentially dangerous lakes using remote-sensing data such as the LANDSAT
(stereo) images
I Semi-detailed to detailed study of the glacial lakes, identification of potentially
dangerous lakes and the possible mechanism of a GLOF using aerial photos
0 Annual examination of medium- to high-resolution satellite images, e.g.
LANDSAT TM, IRSID, SPOT, and so on. to assess changes in the different
parameters of potentially dangerous lakes and the sLu”rounding terrain
0 Brief over- flight reconnaissance with small format cameras to view the lakes of
concern more closely and to assess their potential for bursting in the near future
0 Field reconnaissance to establish clearly the potential for bursting and to evaluate
the need for preventative action

0 Detailed studies of the potentially dangerous lakes by multi-disciplinary
0 Implementation of appropriate mitigation measure(s) in the highly potentially
dangerous lakes.
0 Regular monitoring of the site during and after the appropriate mitigation
measure(s) have been carried out
0 Development of a telecommunication and radio broadcasting system integrated
with on-site installed hydrometeorological, geophysical, and other necessary
instruments at lakes of concern and downstream as early waming mechanisms for
minimising the impact of a GLOF
0 Interaction/cooperation among all of the related govemment
departments/institutions/agencies /broadcasting media, and others for detailed
studies, mitigation activities, and preparedness for possible disasters arising from
GLOF events
0 The methodology for the inventory of glaciers and glacial lakes, the use of
geographic information systems (GIS), and the remote sensing techniques and
identification of potentially dangerous lakes are explained in Chapters 4—6 and ll.
Some of the mitigation measures to prevent the bursting of the lakes are:
0 siphoning,
0 pumping, and
0 excavation of a channel.
All these methods were suggested basically to reduce the level of water in a lake by
some level initially. The applicability of a method depends on the lake and its situation.
In some of the earlier studies made in Bhutan on Raphstreng Tsho lake, used
excavation of a channel as a possible mitigation measure. Details of the procedure are
given below:
Considering the site conditions, it was found that the excavation of a channel was the
best suited method for mitigating GLOF hazards from Raphstreng Tsho. A detailed
topographic survey of Raphstreng Tsho and its two subsidiary lakes was carried out, on a
scale of 112,000 with 2.5m contour intervals. L-sections and cross-sections of the existing
natural channel through which the water from Raphstreng Tsho was going to Pho Chu
were prepared. These sections were used to estimate the quantity of excavation required
to lower the lake. The water level of the main lake was at 4,348.79 masl. It joined
subsidiary lake I at a level of 4,348.50 masl after traveling 5m along the channel. The
outlet of subsidiary lake I was at an elevation of 4,348.15 masl and was 70m away from
Raphstreng outlet. The water from the subsidiary lake I outlet flowed through a narrow
channel 8—l5m wide for 60m, joined subsidiary lake II at an elevation of 4,343.9 masl,
and flowed out through its outlet at 4343.4 masl. The outlet of subsidiary lake II was
180m away from the main lake along its flow path. From this section the water followed
the natural channel and joined the Pho Chu.
The sequence of excavation activities is given below.
0 The outlet of subsidiary lake II was excavated first to lower the level of this lake.

0 In the next step, the channel between the two subsidiary lakes was excavated.
Once this had reached the desired depth, the outlet of subsidiary lake I was cut to
allow the water to flow out.
0 Then the channel between subsidiary lake I and the main lake was excavated.
When this was completed, the outlet of the main lake was excavated to let the
water flow out, thus reducing the level of the lake by 4m.
Flood mitigation measures (Phase I—1996)
The scope of the work for the 1996 expedition in Bhutan was to carry out the immediate
mitigation measures for the biggest lake (Raphstreng Tsho) as recommended by the joint
expedition team of 1995. The project was funded by the Government of India, and Water
and Power Consultancy Services (India) Ltd (WAPCOS) was appointed to provide
consultants. The Indo-Bhutan expedition team comprised experts from the Department of
Geology and Mines (DGM), the Department of Roads (DOR), the Survey of Bhutan and
the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA), the Geological Survey of India (GSI), and WAPCOS.
The team was to carry out a site survey and investigation to firm up the various
parameters to be used for the preparation of design and cost estimates of civil work
planned for preventing a possible outburst of the glacial lakes in Lunana. The survey and
investigation carried out comprised hydro-meteorological and topographical surveys and
geotechnical, geological, arrl foundation investigations.
Due to the urgency to lower the lake level of Raphstreng Tsho, the civil work for this
purpose was carried out simultaneously. The initial proposal, to siphon together with
excavating the spillway to reduce the lake level by 20m, was found unfeasible, so an
altemative solution had to be found. Based on the recomqaissance study it was decided
that the existing channel through which the lake water was flowing into the Pho Chu
would be used for lowering the lake water level. The excavation work was done using
manual tools like crowbars, shovels, spades, pick axes, and so on. The team reached
Lunana on 7 July 1996 and actual excavation of the channel started on 12 July. The total
number of person days used at this site until l9 October l996 was 67 848 (WAPCOS
I997). During this period the water level in the main lake (Raphstreng Tsho) was lowered
by 0.95m, in the lower subsidiary lake I by 0.94m, and in the subsidiary lake II by l.5m
(Figure 12.1). The report of WAPCOS I997 recommended that lowering of the lake by
20m was not absolutely necessary and that lowering it by 4m should be sufficient. To
implement this recommendation of lowering the lake water level by 4m, work was carried
out in 1997 and 1998.
Raphstreng Tsho outburst flood mitigation project (Lunana) of Bhutan, Phase II—
After a fact finding mission (Phase I), actual fieldwork (Phase II) under Austro-Bhutanese
cooperation was planned as the Raphstreng Tsho Outburst Flood Mitigation Project. The
main aim of the project was to assess the geo-risks of the Raphstreng/Thorthormi Tsho
area (Hauslar 2000). An integrated multi-disciplinary approach was adopted using
remote sensing, geological, hydro- geological, and geophysical methods. IRS-lD PAN
digital data for 3 January I999 with a ground resolution of 5.8m was acquired.
ERDAS/IMAGINE software was used to generate the required satellite image maps: on a

scale of l:25O0 for monitoring the decay of glaciers, at a scale of 1:5,000 for a base map
for field Work, and a 3-D digital elevation model (DEM) for geomorphological and
geological interpretation.
From the hydrological studies conducted, a hypothesis was postulated that (i) seepage
water is not pure glacial melt, (ii) local ice must be expected along the flow path, (m) in a
multi-source groundwater system lake water is not the major contributor, and (iv) in
multi- genetic moraines a very stable piping system exists. It is concluded that if this
hypothesis is proved, the seepages will not weaken the morainic dam (Hauslar
Sub-surface radar, geoelectric resistivity, and seismic investigation were used to interpret
the sub-surface nature of the moraine dam. The findings from these investigations were
that the end moraine of Raphstreng Tsho is not an ice core dam. It is concluded that the
present day risk for an outburst from Raphstreng is low, but the risk of an outburst of
Thorthormi Glacial Lake in the future is considered high and it could occur in l5—2O
years considering the present trend of climate change (Hauslar 2000). Hauslar and
Leber (1998) proposed that special risk engineering at Lugge Tsho outlet and a more
sound GLOF risk assessment east of Thanza be carried out.

Chapter 12
Databases of the glaciers and glacial lakes of Himachal Pradesh, based on medium- to
large-scale topographic maps, have not been developed prior to the present study. For the
glacier inventory the study used the methodology developed by the Temporary Technical
Secretary for the World Glacier Inventory (Muller et al. 1977), and for the glacial lake
inventory, the methodology developed by the Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and
Geocryology (LIGG) [LIGG/WECS/NEA 1988] was used with modification.
Creating inventories of and monitoring glaciers and glacial lakes can be done quickly and
correctly using a combination of satellite images and aerial photographs simultaneously
with topographic maps. The multi-stage approach of using remotely sensed data and field
data increases the ability and accuracy of the work. The integration of visual and digital
image analysis with a geographic information system (GIS) can provide very useful tools
for the study of glaciers, glacial lakes, and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs).
Analysts’ experiences and adequate field knowledge of the physical characteristics of
glaciers, glacial lakes, and their associated features are necessary for the interpretation of
topographic maps, satellite images, and aerial photographs. Evaluation of spectral
responses by different surface cover types in different bands of satellite images is
necessary. Different techniques of digital image enhancement and spectral classification
of ground features are useful for the study of glaciers and lakes. With different spectral
band combinations in false colour composite (FCC) and individual spectral bands,
glaciers and glacial lakes were studied using the knowledge of image interpretation keys.
The Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is useful in deciding the rules for discrimination of
features and land-cover types in GIS techniques and for better perspective viewing and
presentations. The DEM suitable for the present study of the whole state is now available.
The topographic maps published by the Survey of India in the 19605-19705 on a scale of
1:50,000, based on aerial photographs and field verification are the only map series that
cover the whole of Himachal Pradesh on medium scale. Based on this map series, spatial
and attribute databases of glaciers and glacial lakes were developed.
The inventory of glaciers and glacial lakes of Himachal Pradesh as a whole is divided into
the following four river basins and four sub basins.
0 Beas Basin
0 Ravi Basin
I Chenab Basin
0 Satluj Basin
0 Sub Basins
I Sub Basin 1 (Tsarap Chu)
I Sub Basin 2 (Takling la)

I Sub Basin 3 (Bhagirathi)
I Sub Basin 4 (Pabbar)
A digital database of glaciers and glacial lakes was developed for 1-Iimachal Pradesh
covering a total of 8 basins and sub basins. Major glaciers and glacial lakes were digitized
on geo-coded LISS 111 satellite imagery using software Ilwis 3.1. The spatial distribution
of glaciers and glacial lakes was digitized on satellite image and verified from
topographic maps. A total of 8 basins and sub-basins were covered by the study. The
present study indicate that there are 2554 glaciers altogether inventoried within the
terr3itory of Himachal, covering an area of4l60.5 sq. km with an ice reserves of387.35
Prior to the present study, there was no inventory of glaciers as well as lakes covering the
entire state as a whole. In this study any lakes in contact with or near a glacier, or
occupying a basin produced by glacial erosion or deposition, were tenned ‘glacial lakes’.
However, some of the lakes inventoried were isolated and far behind the ice mass, and
their Water may or may not actually be derived from glacial melt water. Altogether 156
lakes were identified in Himachal Pradesh and out of it 16 lakes were identified as a
potentially dangerous glacial lakes.
The Beas river basin has a total of 358 glaciers covering an area of 758.1 8 sq. km. The
estimated ice reserves in the basin is 76.42 sq km. The major glaciers identified in the
basin are; Tichu glacier, Sara umga glacier, Samsi Glacier , Parbati glacier, Jaryun
glacier, Jamu glacier, Dudhon glacier, Duahan Glacier, Dibika glacier, Beas kund glacier
and Banagal glacier. Fifty nine lakes are identified in the whole basin, out of that 53 are
found to be associated with glaciers hence could be classified as glacial lakes. Further, the
basin has 21 moraine dammed, 3 blocked, 2 cirque, 12 erosion, 3 lateral moraine
dammed, 1 1 supraglacial and 7 valley lakes. The basin has 22 major lakes having an area
of more than 0.2 and out of that there are altogether 5 moriane dammed lakes
which fall in the category of potentially dangerous glacial lakes.
The Ravi basin comprises of 198 glaciers. The total area covered by these glaciers is
235.21 with an ice reserve of 16.88 km3. A total of 17 lakes have been identified in the
Ravi basin and 16 of them are associated with glaciers. The basin is dominated by valley
and erosion lakes. The basin has 7 major lakes and only one could be classified as the
potential dangerous lake.
As many as there are 681 glaciers digitized which feed Chenab river in Chenab basin
covering an area of 1704.70 sq. km and an ice reserves of 187.66 km3. The basin
contains 31 glacial lakes (out of 33 in total) wherein moraine dammed type of lakes
dominated in number. Fifteen lakes are characterized as major glacial lakes and five of
them are identified as a potential danger.
Satluj basin, the largest of all, consists of 945 glaciers with a cumulative area of 1217.70
sq. km and an estimated ice reserve of 94.45 km} . Most of the lakes digitized (40 nos) in
the basin are small in size and of that 35 are found to be associated with glaciers. The
moraine dammed types of lakes are common in the basin. Fourteen lakes are
characterized as major lakes and 3 again as a potential dangerous lakes.

Sub basin 1 (Tsarzp Chu) has 250 glaciers constituting an area of 163.33 and an ice
reserve of 7.96 k , however, the basin does not include any lake. There are only 55
glaciers inventories in Sub basin 2 (Taklingla) in an area of 32.04 and 1.38 km3 ice
reserve. The basin also has six lakes, out of which two lakes are palced in the category of
potentially dangerous lakes that need further attention. Sub basin 3 (Bhagirathi) consists
of 43 glaciers, 43.06 glaciated area and 2.43 km} ice reserves. The sole lake present
in the basin is not categorized as dangerous. The sub basin 4 (Pabbar) has 24 glaciers
covering an area of 6.36 and an ice reserves of 0.19 km; and no lakes are observed
in the sub basin.
Though no major appareit GLOF event has ever occurred in the state however, quite a
few lakes have been identified which may pose danger in the coming future as the
glaciers are retreating at an alanning rate due to global wanning. There are significant
number of lakes in all the basins having the area ranging between 0.1 and 1.25 sq. km.
Among the glacial lakes studied, a lake associated with Geopang gath glacier in the
Chenab basin has received the greatest attention.
The characteristic features used to identify potentially dangerous lakes in general are:
I moraine-dammed glacial lakes in contact or very near to large glaciers,
I merging of supraglacial lakes at the glacier tongue.
I some new lakes of considerable size fonned at glacier tongues,
I lakes rapidly growing in size, and
I rejuvenation of lakes after a past glacial lake outburst event.
Sixteen glacial lakes have been identified as potentially dangerous lakes from the study
of topographic rnaps, literature, and satellite images available. The potentially dangerous
lakes identified are located within four basins. Among the potentially dangerous lakes,
five lakes belong to the Beas basin, five lakes belong to the Chenab basin, one lake
belong to the Ravi basin and three lakes belong to the Satluj basin.
It is recommended that the potentially dangerous lakes identified be further investigated
and field surveys carried out.
It is concluded that the present day risk for an outburst from glacial lakes occurring in
Himachal Pradesh is low, but the risk of outburst of glacial Lake in the future could be
anticipated high and it might occur in coming 15-20 years considering the present trend
of climate change (Hauslar and Leber (2000). It is proposed that besides making a
temporal inventory, a close monitoring of these lakes is required to assess the change in
their behaviour. This will help in strengthening database and also help in undertaking an
appropriate pre disaster mitigation measure and in avoiding flash flood tragedies common
in the hilly region.

Chapter 13
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Inventory of Glaciers of Beas River Basin
Number of Glaciers: 358 Area of Glaciers: 758.14 kmz Total Ice Reseerve=
ac er Number
Latitude Longitude
G acier Name
ngth (in)
Area (mz)
Thickness (m)
reserve (krnl)
Glac er Type
Beas_gr 1
32°13‘25.64″N, 76°45‘12.63″E
§ Map
F1 .
Beas_gr 2
32°l4‘15.35″N, 76°45‘15.23″E
Ice Apron
Beas_gr 3
32°14‘36.13″N, 76°45‘31.84″E
Ice Cap
Beas_gr 4
32°14‘28.74″N 76°48‘04.41″E
Beas_gr 5
32°14‘12.48″N, 76°48‘1Z.81″E
Beas_gr 6
32°14‘01.86″N 76°48‘27.51″E
Beas_gr 7
32°13‘44.31″N, 76°48’17.37″E
Mountain basin
Beas_gr 8
32°l3‘15.24″N, 76°48‘58.42″E
Beas_gr 9
32°12‘50.57″N, 76°48‘57.09″E
Beas_gr 10
32°12’28.46″N, 76°48‘34.78″E
Mountain basin
Beas_gr 11
32°11‘50.50″N, 76°47‘57.82″E
Beas_gr 12
32°11‘40.38″N 76°47’37.09″E
Mountain basin
Beas_gr 13
32°11‘19.73″N, 76°47‘44.86″E
Beas_gr 14
32°11‘02.09″N, 76°47‘55.52″E
Beas_gr 1 5
32°l2‘08.96″N, 76°49‘30.45″E
Mountain basin
Beas_gr 16
32°12‘24.22″N, 76°49‘19.87″E
Beas_gr 17
32°12‘40.49″N, 76°49‘16.33″E
Mountain basin
Beas_gr 1 8
32°l3’1l.99″N, 76°49‘20.84″E
Beas_gr 19
32°13‘35.03″N, 76°49‘57.74″E