Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Glaciers receive a surge of attention in the Karakoram Himalaya



Between 1994 and 1996 catastrophic movement of the 15.5-km-long Chiring Glacier transferred 1-1.5 km3 of ice from its upper two thirds to its lower third, and into the main Panmah Glacier of which it is a tributary. By October 1996, a lobe of Chiring ice some 3.2 km2 in area had entered and compressed the main glacier, which was severely disturbed for 3 km above and 5 km below the junction of the glaciers (Figure 1). Ice streams and medial moraines were pushed into a series of looped or “tear-drop” forms, well-known in the surging glaciers. Despite an observational record back to 1856, it was not previously realized that changes in the glacier involve surging.