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Volume 18, issue 4 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 983-995, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-983-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Apr 2018

Research article | 03 Apr 2018

Large drainages from short-lived glacial lakes in the Teskey Range, Tien Shan Mountains, Central Asia

Chiyuki Narama1, Mirlan Daiyrov1,2, Murataly Duishonakunov3, Takeo Tadono4, Hayato Sato1,5, Andreas Kääb6, Jinro Ukita1, and Kanatbek Abdrakhmatov7 Chiyuki Narama et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science, Niigata University, Niigata, Japan
  • 2Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • 3Department of Physical Geography, Kyrgyz National University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • 4Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, Japan
  • 5Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd, Tokyo, Japan
  • 6Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 7Institute of Seismology, Kyrgyz Academy of Science, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Abstract. Four large drainages from glacial lakes occurred during 2006–2014 in the western Teskey Range, Kyrgyzstan. These floods caused extensive damage, killing people and livestock as well as destroying property and crops. Using satellite data analysis and field surveys of this area, we find that the water volume that drained at Kashkasuu glacial lake in 2006 was 194000 m3, at western Zyndan lake in 2008 was 437000m3, at Jeruy lake in 2013 was 182000m3, and at Karateke lake in 2014 was 123000m3. Due to their subsurface outlet, we refer to these short-lived glacial lakes as the tunnel-type, a type that drastically grows and drains over a few months. From spring to early summer, these lakes either appear, or in some cases, significantly expand from an existing lake (but non-stationary), and then drain during summer. Our field surveys show that the short-lived lakes form when an ice tunnel through a debris landform gets blocked. The blocking is caused either by the freezing of stored water inside the tunnel during winter or by the collapse of ice and debris around the ice tunnel. The draining then occurs through an opened ice tunnel during summer. The growth–drain cycle can repeat when the ice-tunnel closure behaves like that of typical supraglacial lakes on debris-covered glaciers. We argue here that the geomorphological characteristics under which such short-lived glacial lakes appear are (i) a debris landform containing ice (ice-cored moraine complex), (ii) a depression with water supply on a debris landform as a potential lake basin, and (iii) no visible surface outflow channel from the depression, indicating the existence of an ice tunnel. Applying these characteristics, we examine 60 depressions (>0.01km2) in the study region and identify here 53 of them that may become short-lived glacial lakes, with 34 of these having a potential drainage exceeding 10m3s−1 at peak discharge.

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Four large drainages from glacial lakes occurred during 2006–2014 in the western Teskey Range, Kyrgyzstan. These floods caused extensive damage, killing people and livestock, as well as destroying property and crops. Due to their subsurface outlet, we refer to these short-lived glacial lakes as being of the tunnel-type, a type that drastically grows and drains over a few months.
Four large drainages from glacial lakes occurred during 2006–2014 in the western Teskey Range,...
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