Glacial and Geological Hazards

Talk to a member of the team on +44 (0)1352 756196

With changing climate, glaciers around the world are responding generally by shrinking. As they do so, more melt water is being stored in glacial lake systems behind moraine dams at high altitude, especially in the Himalayas and the Andes. At the same time, to fuel economic growth with the high demands for electricity, hydropower generation is becoming increasingly important.

In the recent past, damage caused by Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), Landslide Dam Outburst Floods (LDOFs), and debris flows have resulted in many hundreds of millions of dollars of damage and lost revenue from hydropower schemes, insurance premiums have increased, and remote rural communities have been greatly affected. In the worst cases, many people have been killed by such events.

Despite the occurrence of GLOFs and LDOFs, related debris flows, thawing permafrost, and increasing numbers of rock and ice avalanches, there is little expertise available worldwide through which to manage the effect of these processes and their impacts on society. Many responsible agencies in countries affected struggle to find ways of prioritising their resources in the study and management of these high mountain systems.

Prof. John Reynolds, Managing Director of Reynolds International Ltd, is recognised independently as the world leader in glacial hazard assessment and mitigation, with experience over the last 43 years from South America (Peru and Chile), Scandinavia, Himalayas (Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet/China), Hindu Kush Karakoram (Pakistan), Tajikistan, and Tien Shan Mountains (Kyrgyzstan). He has been responsible for successful mitigation works in Peru and pioneered engineering remediation of a major glacial lake in Nepal, a world first. Much of his work has been published in international, peer-reviewed journals.


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Tsho Rolpa spillway, Rolwaling, Nepal, after successful lowering of the lake level by 3.5 m in July 2000.
Reynolds International Ltd (RIL) is unique in being the only independent company worldwide to offer a complete commercial consultancy service in all aspects of glacial and geological hazard and risk management, with extensive experience in Asia and South America.

Tsho Rolpa spillway, Rolwaling, Nepal, after successful lowering of the lake level by 3.5 m in July 2000.
Reynolds International Ltd (RIL) is unique in being the only independent company worldwide to offer a complete commercial consultancy service in all aspects of glacial  and geological hazard and risk management, with extensive experience in Asia and South America.

Tsho Rolpa spillway

Tsho Rolpa spillway

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.
glacial hazard

Development of glacial hazard and risk minimisation protocols in rural environments

The original work to develop ‘Guidelines for the management of glacial hazards and risks’ was undertaken by Reynolds Geo-Sciences Ltd (RGSL) through a […]


Glacial Hazard Assessment Services

If you are managing a major project in a mountain environment in which there are many glaciers and glacial lakes, do not be fooled into thinking that, if they are tens of kilometres away, your project will be immune to their effects. […]

Glacial hazards projects

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 activities in glacial hazards for the RIL team include: […]


Integrated Geohazard Assessments

Over the last five years, RIL staff have pioneered the development of Integrated Geohazard Assessments through which a wide range of physical processes and their susceptibility to the effects of climate change can be assessed in relation to downstream infrastructure. […]

What Our Clients Say

CEGS have known of Reynolds International Ltd, previously Reynolds Geo-Sciences Ltd, since the mid-1990s and have utilised their services over the years for specific surveying in the former underground coal and iron ore fields of West Cumbria. As a lead consultant, we have used Reynolds International to successfully locate and define both the underground workings and the mine entries that pose a hazard to the built environment, especially shafts in the iron ore workings.

Additionally, we have also enrolled on the CPD training courses that are organised by Professor John Reynolds and these provide an invaluable update to our professional skills.

We will continue to use Reynolds International as our preferred specialist Geophysical consultancy because of the consistent high professional standards that are applied to every project.

Dennis R. E. Dickins

CEGS, Cumbria

The British Embassy, Bucharest, has been working with Professor John Reynolds, of Reynolds International Ltd, since 2008 in order to ensure that the Embassy’s earthquake and emergency planning is up to date; and that all staff, dependents and the British community, for which the Embassy has a responsibility, are briefed on the causes, the preparations and the relevant actions in the event of an earthquake.

Professors Reynolds’s knowledge, advice and guidance has been invaluable in ensuring that the embassy’s plan is as up to date and in an as workable format as possible.

His knowledge is second to none and his guidance is clear concise and in an understandable format.

B A Davidson – HM Consul

Head of Corporate Services, Bucharest, Romania

The earthquake preparedness training course provided by Professor John M. Reynolds for BAT Romania’ employees during 3 days in February this year was a well designed and tailored course given the high seismic hazard area where Romania is located.

The main aim of the course was to provide our employees with necessary information to help them to reduce their own vulnerabiolity at work, in their out-of-work activities and in their family lives.

I was very pleased with the results of the training and , most importantly, I have received very positive feedback from participants.

I recommend this course for other commercial organizations in Romania or abroad.

Eugen Stan, Business Security Manager

British American Tobacco Trading SRL, Romania

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much will a survey cost?

It depends completely on the scope of your project and the nature of your target! Whether you are investigating your back garden before putting up an extension, or planning the ground investigation of a city-wide infrastructure project and worried about sink-holes, we will take the same amount of care and attention designing your survey and ensuring you pay no more than you need to to get the results you require. A staged project may be appropriate, where each phase is commissioned only after assessment of the results of the previous phase, so you don’t need to worry about paying for work that you don’t need. We can also advise on suitable contractors for a job so that you can engage them directly under our supervision, and manage their costs yourself.

For jobs upon which we engage contractors for you ourselves, our prices start at about £5,000 and cover our fees and disbursements, including: survey design and specification, identification and engagement of a suitable contractor for data acquisition, our on-site supervision, QC, off-site processing, analysis, interpretation and reporting. Consultancy-only rates can be provided on request. VAT will be added to all prices at the applicable rate.

Don’t forget – investing in a thorough and complete ground investigation at the start of your project could save many times the cost of that investigation in over-engineering, responding to unforeseen ground conditions and overrunning project deadlines futher down the line. A thorough site investigation will play a key role in your project risk reduction measures.

Q: Can I just get some advice? I don’t need a quote right now/I don’t want to pay for a quote

All basic advice and quotes are FREE. We are always happy to discuss options, whether you need a full quote, a ballpark cost for inclusion in a tender or just need to find out whether geophysical surveying is appropriate for your site. If your site is more complicated and you require us to prepare a specification, this will be subject to a charge, but we guarantee that we will never undertake chargeable work without clearing it with you first.

Q: I am familiar with [technique]/it worked well on another site – can I use it on this site?

If you already have an idea of what geophysical technique might be appropriate for your site, let us know. We keep up to date on all developments in geophysical site investigations and may be able to suggest new, alternative and/or complementary techniques. Many techniques that you may be familiar with, such as Ground Penetrating Radar, are very effective in the right conditions, but almost completely useless elsewhere. We will always recommend the most appropriate techniques and survey design for your site and problem. We will make sure that you are happy with the techniques proposed before submitting a proposal, so the final decision is up to you.

Q: How can I integrate the results into my project?

We strongly believe that all our projects should be led by what you need, not what we can provide. If you need your results in a specific format for integration into your own software, just let us know! We can supply paper and pdf maps, 2D and 3D CAD and/or ESRI ArcGIS files, data archives on disk or hard drive, and can set up a dedicated, password-protected ftp folder for you on our own server to facilitate transfer of data and reports. We can also provide advice on the integration of geophysical and geotechnical data within a GIS framework.

Q: My site is abroad – do you work overseas?

We are an international consultancy, and our personnel have worked everywhere from Wales to the Antarctic! We can advise you about appropriate U.K. based contractors, or help you select from local contractors by undertaking a review of available contractors and/or carrying out tender reviews. Our experienced project managers are able to manage your geophysical survey remotely or in-country as you require.

Q: Why do you use contractors instead of doing the site work yourselves?

Unlike other geophysical service providers, we are totally independent of any geophysical contractors. Approaching a contractor directly may result in you getting a survey that is tailored to their in-house skills and equipment, rather than to your site and survey target. We design a survey to meet your needs, then identify contractors who are specialists in the techniques required. We then select one or more contractors from this shortlist through a competitive tender process, ensuring that you get the best service and do not pay over the odds for it. We can employ contractors ourselves, or recommend appropriate contractors for you to engage directly under our supervision.

Q: Why should I use RIL? I have heard that consultants are expensive!

As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for! Using RIL guarantees you a range of benefits:

  • Independent survey design: we are not beholden to any contractor.
  • Independent supervision of the geophysical contractor’s work to ensure the highest data quality.
  • Availability of high-level technical expertise not usually available through contractors.
  • Increased level of analysis not usually afforded by contractors – typically less than 15-20% of a contractor’s costs are attributable to interpretative reporting.
  • Consideration of the use of the data by the Client or his engineers and presentation of information in the most suitable digital formats.
  • Increased peace of mind for the client by having the survey managed by extremely experienced staff including a Chartered Geologist.
  • By engaging RIL as the Client’s Engineering Geophysical Adviser, the latest guidelines for engineering geophysical surveys (McDowell et al., 2002) are being followed.
  • The survey workflow from data acquisition through to interpretative report will be technically robust and the interpretative report will be in plain English with clear descriptions of the work undertaken and how the interpretations have been arrived at. Our report will be written to facilitate peer review, which we welcome.
  • Our final invoice will not be issued until the client is completely satisfied with the final report – this is guaranteed.
Q: I have another question that you have not answered!

Then let us know by calling us on +44 (0) 1352 756196, e-mailing us at or using our contact form.