22 June 2018
A remarkable debris flow video from Ladakh
A video has been posted on to Youtube in the last week that shows a remarkable debris flow from Ladakh in northern India. According to the text the video was taken at Nubra Ladakh. It seems that that Nubra is, in the words of Wikipedia:
“a tri-armed valley located to the north east of Ladakh valley. Diskit the capital of Nubra is about 150 km north from Leh town, the capital of Ladakh district, India. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra (the valley of flowers). The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges. The Shyok river is a tributary of the Indus river. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 ft. i.e. 3048 metres above the sea level.”
The debris flow is clearly very high energy and high velocity:-
The exact location of this event is not clear, but the of the debris flow origin appears to be one of the glaciated valleys:-
The weather does not seem to indicate heavy rainfall, but this area is a high altitude desert in which rainfall is rare. The debris flow may be associated with a glacial event, such as a GLOF, or perhaps a localised cloudburst.
Back in 2010 the Ladakh region was hit by a very serious debris flow disaster, which killed at least 234 people, with up to a further 800 people reported to have been lost. There was a further significant event in this region is 2010, which caused substantial damage but claimed only two lives. In both cases the volume of rainfall was not large in global terms, but was exceptional for this region.