Glacial hazards projects

RIl have recently undertaken a number of glacial hazards projects. Several projects on which RIL staff have worked are presented as case studies.

Recent glacial hazards projects

Recent activities in glacial hazards for the RIL team include:

  • Disaster Risk Management for the hydro-power sector in the South Asian Region.  The World Bank (2014 on)
  • Diamer Basha Dam Project, Pakistan.  MWH, Chicago, USA.  Glacial hazard review for the Upper Indus Basin (2014 on)
  • Rolwaling Diversion Tunnel Project, Nepal.  Lahmeyer, Germany (2015 ongoing).  Glacial hazard assessment of Tsho Rolpa and the Rolwaling catchment.&nbsnbsp;
  • Northern Patagonian Ice-field and associated glacial hazards. Field inspection of the Colonia and Baker Rivers, which are associated with repeated Glacial Lake Outburst Floods from the Northern Patagonian Ice-field, and associated advice (2009 on).
  • Lake 513, Hualcán, and other sites, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Ongoing collaboration with the Glaciology and Hydrology Unit, Ministry of Water Resources, Huaraz, Peru (2009 on).
  • Review of international guidelines glacial hazard assessment for GAPHAZ (2011 on).

Colonia Glacier

The outwash plain from the Colonia Glacier with deposits from a series of GLOFs since 2008, Northern Patagonian Icefield, Chile (October 2010).

Lake 513, Hulacan

The source area of the rock/ice avalanche that generated the 28+m high avalanche push wave into Lake 513 at Hualcán, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. (Photo: C. Portocarrero, April 2010).

Glacial hazards project case studies

In the interests of illustrating previous glacial hazards work, examples of commercial and research projects undertaken by the former RGSL glacial hazards team under Prof. Reynolds’ direction are listed below. For more information, project summaries can be downloaded through the pdf links listed. For access to the Guidelines for glacial hazard assessment (2003), please see the penultimate item below and follow the link.

  • Glacial inventory of Bhutan. Bhutan has a large, but largely untapped, potential for hydropower generation. RGSL was appointed to review whether glaciers and glacial lakes could hinder the development of this resource. Work was undertaken in country in 1998 and 2002 and an atlas of glacial lakes to be monitored was produced for the Bhutanese Government.
  • Tsho Rolpa glacial lake outburst floods risk reduction project, Nepal. RGSL was involved in the assessment and remediation of the glacial lake, Tsho Rolpa, in the Rolwaling Himal, Nepal, from 1994. In a race against time, the lake was partially drawn down by 3.5 m in 2000. See RGSL’s project summary [540k pdf] for more details.
  • Machu Picchu vulnerability study, Peru. In 1998 a debris flow from Salcantay Mountain led to the flooding and burial of a nearby hydropower plant. RGSL and its associates provided a team of experts in glacial hazard assessment and engineering geology to help with the vulnerability study for the new hydropower installation.
  • Basha Daimer Dam pre-feasibility study, Pakistan. Surging glaciers, ice-dammed lakes and catastrophic floods with run-out distances in excess of 1000 km. Pakistan has some of the most dynamic and isolated glacial environments in the world, yet remote-sensing data helped RGSL assess the risks to this large dam development.
  • Feasibility Study of Upper Tama Koshi Hydroelectric Project: Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) Risk Assessment Study. RGSL provided a complete catchment-wide risk assessment for the proposed hydropower installation. The hazard history and the relative probability of future outbursts from all glacial lakes were examined from the latest satellite imagery.
  • Development of glacial hazard and risk minimisation protocols in rural environments. Protocols for glacial hazard assessment and management were developed in this three-year, commercial research project. Study areas included the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, and the Khumbu Himal, Nepal. This project has its own web page, or download a project summary [pdf].
  • KTP remote-sensing project. Remote sensing is becoming an increasingly popular tool for hazard assessment and monitoring. In a joint research project with the Centre for Glaciology Aberystwyth University, UK, RGSL developed advanced techniques and guidelines [pdf] .

Call us now on +44(0)1352 756196 or email so that you can find out without any obligation how to benefit from our unique glacial hazard and mitigation services.