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Glacial lake risk assessment of the Lower Barun glacial lake


Sankhuwasabha District, Nepal

Date & Time

13 September 2021 to 02 October 2021


Sharad P. Joshi & Sudan B. Maharjan

Organizers: ICIMOD and Kathmandu University


About the fieldwork

Our team of researchers and a member from Kathmandu University will be conducting field measurements and collecting field data to better understand the Lower Barun glacial lake.

While in the field, the team will carry out the following activities:

  • Bathymetry survey of the lake using Eco Sounder and HyDrone remote controller boat connecting with a differential global positioning system (dGPS)
  • UAV survey of glacier terminus to lake downstream
  • Geophysical survey of the lake’s old outlet, end moraine and potential subsiding area using GPR
  • End moraine sediment and morphological analysis
  • Ground control points and topographical survey of the moraine, lake water level, and surrounding area using a dGPs
  • Observe surrounding geomorphology and possible rockslide/avalanche area in the lake vicinity
  • Repeat photograph of the glacial lake, mother glacier, and other features (such as exposed moraine, ice wall, seepages)



The Lower Barun glacial lake – located in the foothills of Mount Makalu (8416 masl) and southeast of Imja glacial lake in Arun River Valley – is one of the critical glacial lakes of Nepal. The lake is dammed by an ice-cored moraine in the east and a calving glacier front with a thick debris-covered glacier in the west.  The lake has been expanding rapidly because of regular glacial calving Recent satellite images show consistent calving of the glacier terminus into the moraine-dammed proglacial lake, which has formed many new icebergs. Regular monitoring and field data can reduce GLOF risks and support implementation, mitigation, and adaptation measures in the susceptibility of GLOF risk lakes.