Dehradun: The formation of a glacial lake just a few kilometres above the Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand has officials and experts on their toes. The lake, spotted only recently, brings to mind the horrifying memories of the 2013 Kedarnath flash floods in which thousands of people had lost their lives.
The flood in 2013 was caused after a similar glacial lake named ‘Chorabari’ exploded, resulting in the sudden release of lakhs of litres of water that created havoc in the Kedar valley in Rudraprayag district.
Rudraprayag district magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal told News18 over phone on Friday that he has shared with the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology a few images of the new lake.
“An expert team from the Wadia Institute is expected to visit it next week,” said Ghildiyal. “However, they have told us that the glacial lake seems to be a natural phenomenon.”
Dr Pradeep Bhardwaj, a healthcare professional who is currently in Kedarnath, claimed in a video that the lake was the same water body that caused floods in Kedarnath six years ago.
But experts differ on this claim. Dr DP Dobhal, an expert on Himalayan glaciers at the Wadia Institute, said the formation of ‘supra glacial lakes’ – a term used to describe lakes in glaciers – is a natural phenomenon.
“The formation of Chorabari lake is not possible again because it was completely destroyed in 2013. Supra-glacial lakes keep forming and then disappear after a certain period. Not all supra-glacial lakes are dangerous, but some are,” added Dobhal.
State Disaster Response Force Inspector General Sanjay Gunjiyal said his team had visited the glacial lake, but had found nothing “serious so far”.
In the 2013 flash floods, more than 5,000 people had died and property worth crores was washed out.