Uttarakhand Dam Disaster- Glacier burst in Uttarakhand
A glacier burst took place on Sunday in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district after a chunk of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off. The Nanda Devi glacier has fallen into the Dhauliganga river near Rani village.
The glacier piece created a massive wave of water, mud, and rocks downstream damaged numerous lives, and have inflicted high costs in destroyed infrastructure and property in two power projects – NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project and the Rishi Ganga hydel project. Around half-a-dozen bridges were damaged due to the gush of water.
Uttarakhand in general and Chamoli, in particular, are in a geologically unstable region. The increasing population has made it more vulnerable. Pointing out that satellite and Google Earth images, experts have called the breaking off of such a massive chunk of the Nanda Devi glacier a rare incident.
Glacial lakes are water bodies that form beneath giant glaciers and flow inside the gigantic ice sheets. At times, they create enough pressure to break off big chunks of glaciers.
In the Uttarakhand glacier burst, it is speculated that water pockets might have developed inside the Nanda Devi glacier, causing the tragedy. The latest development is pointing to climate change and global warming.
Like several in the Himalayas, retreating glaciers usually result in lakes’ formation at their tips, called proglacial lakes, often bound only by sediments and boulders. Suppose the boundaries of these lakes are breached.
In that case, it can lead to large amounts of water rushing down to nearby streams and rivers, gathering momentum on the way by picking up sediments, rocks, and other material and resulting in flooding downstream.
The entire stretch of Himalayan-Hindukush mountains is considered to be the hotspot of climate change. There are also issues to consider, like climate change or disproportionate construction in a fragile ecosystem, which was supposed to have contributed significantly to the 2013 disaster.
Reasons for the glacier burst
Experts say one possibility is that massive ice blocks broke off the glacier due to a temperature rise, releasing an enormous water amount. Another chance is that an avalanche or landslide may have dammed the river for some time, causing it to burst out after the water level rose.
Climate change-driven, erratic weather patterns like increased snowfall, rainfall, and warmer winters have led to the melting point of a lot of snow falling.
Every individual living on this planet is responsible for global warming in one way or another and must alter ways to stop this phenomenon in their way. Countries must work towards the common goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Also, reducing global warming and addressing climate change is the responsibility of governments and their citizens, of every individual. We should collectively save energy by reducing unnecessary water usage, saving electricity, using public transport, recycling plastic, bottles, paper, and waste. Let us work together to make the world a better living place.