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Tajik Agency on Hydrometerology
Uploaded on Tuesday 21 Feb 2012
Formation of lakes and glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) by Medvezhi Glacier, Pamirs
Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
The increasing number of glacial and moraine lakes in Central Asian mountains is a matter of great concern. One of the surging glaciers that poses a potential threat is the 15 km long Medvezhi (Bear) Glacier in the Pamirs mountains of Tajikistan. Its surges have repeatedly caused lake formation, outburst and subsequent floodings. In 1963 and 1973, the surge of the glacier was so significant (1 to 2 km increase in length) that the ice dam exceeded 100 m in height and dammed a lake of over 20 million m3 of water and debris. The outburst of that lake generated a series of large flood waves. Due to early warning and monitoring, there were no victims, although infrastructural damage was significant.