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Article

Reconstructing the History of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, East Nepal: An Interdisciplinary Approach

1
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2
Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0810, Japan
3
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA
4
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
5
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Charleston, WV 25304, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5407; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135407
Received: 2 June 2020 / Revised: 25 June 2020 / Accepted: 26 June 2020 / Published: 3 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
An interdisciplinary field investigation of historic glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in the Kanchenjunga region of Nepal was conducted between April and May, 2019. Oral history and field measurements suggested that at least six major GLOFs have occurred in the region since 1921. A remote sensing analysis confirmed the occurrence of the six GLOFs mentioned by informants, including two smaller flood events not mentioned that had occurred at some point before 1962. A numerical simulation of the Nangama GLOF suggested that it was triggered by an ice/debris avalanche of some 800,000 m3 of material, causing a surge wave that breached the terminal moraine and released an estimated 11.2 × 106 m3 ± 1.4 × 106 m3 of water. Debris from the flood dammed the Pabuk Khola river 2 km below the lake to form what is today known as Chheche Pokhari lake. Some concern has been expressed for the possibility of a second GLOF from Nangama as the result of continued and growing landslide activity from its right lateral moraine. Regular monitoring of all lakes and glaciers is recommended to avoid and/or mitigate the occurrence of future GLOF events in the region. Collectively, the paper demonstrates the benefits and utility of interdisciplinary research approaches to achieving a better understanding of past and poorly documented GLOF events in remote, data-scarce high mountain environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF); Kanchenjunga; Nepal; interdisciplinary approaches glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF); Kanchenjunga; Nepal; interdisciplinary approaches
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MDPI and ACS Style

Byers, A.C.; Chand, M.B.; Lala, J.; Shrestha, M.; Byers, E.A.; Watanabe, T. Reconstructing the History of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, East Nepal: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Sustainability 2020, 12, 5407. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135407

AMA Style

Byers AC, Chand MB, Lala J, Shrestha M, Byers EA, Watanabe T. Reconstructing the History of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, East Nepal: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Sustainability. 2020; 12(13):5407. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135407

Chicago/Turabian Style

Byers, Alton C.; Chand, Mohan B.; Lala, Jonathan; Shrestha, Milan; Byers, Elizabeth A.; Watanabe, Teiji. 2020. "Reconstructing the History of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, East Nepal: An Interdisciplinary Approach" Sustainability 12, no. 13: 5407. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135407

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