26 October 2013

A remarkable photo of Kedarnath after the debris flow disaster

Posted by Dave Petley

The Kedarnath disaster in Uttarakhand, India in June remains the worst landslide accident of 2013 to date.  As a taster for a fuller post next week, Vaibhav Kaul has made the following photograph available to me.  He recently trekked up to the site and collected a set of images, of which this is one.  It is posted here with his agreement:


Courtesy and copyright of Vaibhav Kaul


The image shows Kedarnath town in the bottom left corner.  To understand the processes,please refer to my earlier post reconstructing the accident.  On the slopes above are the smaller debris flows triggered by the rainfall event in June – these were not responsible for the losses.  Upstream of the town to the right are the two debris flow tracks – the left hand one,which originated from the glacial lake overflow event, split into two components (clearly visible on the photograph).  On the right side of the image lie the two debris covered strands of the Charobari glacier; the other (first) debris flow came from a slope failure that is out of site of this image and then flowed down the right hand lateral margin of the glacier before striking the town.  This track is just visible towards the right of the image and then above the town.