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Uttarakhand glacier burst: Two teams of glaciologists to study cause of Chamoli megaflood


Researchers from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun study various aspects of the Himalayas, particularly its glaciers and seismic activities.

Damaged dam of the Rishi Ganga Power Project, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on 7 Febraury 2021. Image: PTI

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Two teams of glaciologists will head to Joshimath-Tapovan on Monday to study the causes of massive flood caused after a part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, the director of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology said. Kalachand Sain said two teams of glaciologists – one with two members and another with three members – will leave Dehradun on Monday morning. The Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, under the aegis of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), studies various aspects of the Himalayas, including the glaciers and seismic activities in the region.

It had also conducted studies on the 2013 flash floods in Uttarakhand that killed nearly 5,000 people.

“The teams will study the reasons behind the incident. Our teams will be looking into different aspects of glaciology,” Sain said, adding that it is too early to comment on the development.

A portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday, triggering an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations, leaving at least seven people dead and 125 missing who are feared dead.

Sain added that the Sunday’s incident was quite “peculiar” as there was no rain or melting of snow.

The glacier burst led to a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and caused large-scale devastation in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalayas.
 

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Updated: February 8, 2021 — 9:10 am

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