Tso Rolpa one year after devastating earthquakes in Nepal

June 6, 2016

Prof. John Reynolds, MD, RIL, has just returned from almost three weeks in Nepal during which he undertook field work at Tsho Rolpa in Rolwaling, northern Nepal.

He has been visiting this glacial lake regularly since 1994 and has seen huge changes in the terminal moraine complex due to subsidence that is occurring in response to the melting of buried glacier ice. Having collected masses of observations and photographs, the technical analysis is now underway.

One of the reasons for this field visit was to inspect the terminal moraine complex and the engineering mitigation works installed in 2000 to check on the after effects of the two sets of devastating earthquakes on the 28th April and 12th May last year. It is apparent that the earthquakes caused more damage than had been previously identified but nothing to cause immediate concern over the integrity of the engineering works. Recommendations for repairs will be made to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Government of Nepal, as the responsible agency.

As the field team was due to be collected directly from site by helicopter, the otherwise un-laden aircraft was used to help ferry 50 kg of window glass, and 50 kg of building materials and books for the newly rebuilt school in the village of Beding, downstream from Tsho Rolpa, en route to pick up the field team. This saved the local community significant amounts of money and also the frustration of having window glass panes broken when porters set their loads down. Thanks are due to Upper Tama Koshi HEP Ltd for permission to use the helicopter in this way. RIL is continuing to assist the Rolwaling Sherpas in the reconstruction of their villages, something John has been involved with since 1994.

Image: J15358 HF G30/IMG_0373 – Prof. Reynolds with members of the technical team with Tsho Rolpa behind and the Trakarding Glacier in the far distance.