Experts to study surging Shishper glacier in Gilgit-Baltistan

A stake farm will be planted at glacier to monitor its movement, says team leader Abdul Basit

Shabbir Mir July 21, 2020
The team visited the Shisper site on Tuesday. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Experts equipped with modern gadgets and instruments have arrived in Hunza, a mountainous valley in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), to gather scientific information about the surging Shishper glacier.

Shishper is a surging or advancing glacier. It formed around the beginning of the 20th century, when what was then the Hassanabad glacier in the north of the Hunza valley split into two.

The ice-dammed lake flooded twice this year damaging a small part of Karakoram highway besides threatening erosion of land downstream.

“A stake farm will be planted at glacier to monitor its movement at accuracy of 0.25 centimeter,” Abdul Basit, Provincial Coordinator of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) project, known as GLOF-II for brevity said.

“The ground penetrating radar will help measure glacier’s depth besides identification of sub surface glacial lakes,” he added.

The Glacier Ground Truthing team is led by Basit with technical expertise from Dr Farukh Bashir and Dr Atif Wazir of Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD).

The team on Tuesday visited the Shisper site, where they held a meeting with the deputy commissioner of Hunza and the local community.

The team is using state-of-the art equipment like ground penetrating radar, differential GPS and glacier drills to assess the Shisper glacier and will prepare a detailed report on vulnerability and risk associated with the glacier.

The team of experts consisted of representatives from G-B’s Disaster Management Authority (G-BDMA), Forests Department, water management department, Gilgit-Baltistan Rural Support Programme (G-BRSP), and district administration.