10 April 2018
Karimabad, Pakistan: a dramatic rock and ice avalanche caught on video
On Monday a very large rock and ice avalanche struck near to Karimabad in Hunza, northern Pakistan. This event appears to have involved a large failure on the Ultar Glacier, which is close to the famous Baltit Fort. This is the Google Earth perspective view of the Ultar Glacier, with the settlement of Karimabad in the foreground:
The landslide was caught on a dramatic video, posted on Youtube, taken from the Baltit Fort:
News reports suggest that five people were caught in the rock and ice avalanche. Of these, two have been rescued, but the prospects for the other three do not look to be good.
The Pamir Times has a good news report about this event, which includes a terrific gallery of images of the aftermath of the event, taken by Ali Hurmat. This image appears to show the rock and ice avalanche deposit, possibly with the glacier in the background:-
Whilst this image appears to show the track of the rock and ice avalanche, with some of the deposit. This appears to be a mixture of boulders with a dust and ice mixture:-
This event appears to be very similar to the giant rock and ice avalanche that struck the military camp at Gayari in Siachen, Pakistan, six years ago. It is only a few kilometres downstream from the very large Attabad landslide, which blocked the Hunza river in 2010. These sorts of events often start as a rockslope failure onto the glacier, which then entrains debris to become a rock and ice avalanche. It will be interesting to see if this is the case here. Satellite data is not yet available, but hopefully the skies will clear in the next few days.