Death Toll Climbs To 10 In Uttarakhand Glacier Burst 150 Still Missing; Scientists To Leave For Disaster Site Today
A glacial lake burst, a cloud burst, or the impact of climate change or “development”— scientists are not sure what triggered the sudden surge of water near Chamoli in Uttarakhand Sunday morning. The wave briefly raised fears of a repeat of the state's 2013 disaster.
By evening, the prospect of largescale flooding and destruction had receded. And, as scientists prepared to travel to the site in the high mountains north of Chamoli to ascertain the incident's cause. The scenario is most talked about was what glaciologists like to call a GLOF or glacial lake outburst flood.
GLOF events are not unusual, but their impact depends on the burst and location size.
But while GLOF is considered the most likely trigger for Sunday’s event, questions are surrounding this possibility.
“We would have to visit the area to find out what exactly happened. Till then, we can only speculate,” said Professor H C Nainwal, a glaciologist at the Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Srinagar, Uttarakhand.
Argha Banerjee, a glaciologist who works at the IISER, Pune, said it was possible that a glacier lake was present in the area but not known to scientists.
The Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology is sending two teams of scientists to the area Monday to study the possible cause of Sunday’s event.
As of now, the incident does not seem to have any direct linkage with construction-related activities, or the presence of big dams. Still, climate change as a factor cannot be ignored, particularly in the formation of proglacial lakes.
On the other hand, homes along the way were also swept away as the waters rushed down the mountainsides in a raging torrent. Death toll climbs to 10 and a total of 150 people are missing. Many villages were evacuated, and people took to safer areas.