Nature’s Havoc In Uttarakhand; What Is Glacier Burst And Its Impact?

by Shatakshi Gupta
Published: Last Updated on

The entire area has beeninundated after a glacier burst in Raini village of Joshimath in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The water level of Dhauliganga river has suddenly increased, due to which the Rishiganga power project has been demolished.

The avalanche has worsened the situation in the mountainous region. The state government has issued an alert for other areas including Srinagar, Rishikesh, Alaknanda in view of this incident. There is a possibility of loss of life and property on a large scale. The glacier ice is breaking and flowing into the Dhauliganga River.

Also read: 5 anthropogenic disasters that wrecked havoc on environment and mankind

What happens when a glacier bursts or breaks?

 For years, glaciers are formed due to the accumulation of large amounts of snow. 99 percent of the glaciers are in the form of ice sheets, also known as continental glaciers. These are found mostly in polar regions or hilly areas of very high altitude. Similar glaciers are also found in the Himalayan regions. It breaks down when there is activity under it due to a geological movement (gravity, converging or diverging plates).

Many times due to global warming, glacier ice melts and breaks into large ice pieces. This process is called glacier bursting or breakage. It is also called calving or glacier outburst. At times, excessive snowfall causes mountain rivers or lakes to freeze and stop the flow of the glacier river. Due to this also the lake becomes a big glacier, which increases the possibility of bursting.

What can be the effect of a glacier burst?

Breaking of the glacier can cause severe flooding. After breaking the glacier’s ice, excess water in the lake flows down in the rivers. This causes catastrophic destruction, flooding and loss of life and property in the surrounding areas. Due to the current event, Devprayag, Karnprayag, Srinagar, Rishikesh of Uttarakhand are most likely to be at risk. This accident happened between Badrinath and Tapovan. The Chief Minister of the state has confirmed the loss of two bridges.

Due to floods from the broken iceberg in the upper catchment area of ​​Rishiganga originating from Nanda Devi National Park, the river in the Dhauliganga Valley and Alaknanda Valley raged near Rani village at the confluence of Rishiganga and DhauliGanga.  The Rishiganga power project has suffered extensive damage. The water level of Dhauliganga has increased. The water gushed like a storm and took away everything that came in its path.