Back to news
17 Nov 2015 | News

Reviving the Science in Langtang Valley

2 mins Read

70% Complete

 

A small team of ICIMOD researchers recently returned to earthquake-ravaged Langtang Valley to rebuild and maintain the network of hydrological and meteorological stations that was partly destroyed by the 25 April Gorkha tremors. As the lower portion of the trail was destroyed by landslides and rockfall, the new ‘high-route’ to Langtang took the team from Syabrubensi up to Sherpagaon, and then back on to the main trail at Rimche.

From Rimche to the main upper village of Kyanging Gompa, the Langtang Valley was essentially deserted. The roar of the Langtang Khola was interrupted only by our heavy breathing as we climbed past tea-houses and hotels damaged by the earthquake and rockfalls. At Ghodatabela, 4 km downvalley from Langtang Village, we saw first evidence of the magnitude of earthquake destruction on the opposite valley walls. Here, mature forest was stripped and toppled by the massive air blast that preceded the ice, snow, and debris avalanches (http://mountainhydrology.org/nepal-quake/landsat-8-reveals-extent-of-earthquake-disaster-in-langtang-valley/.

Continuing upvalley, the devastation became more apparent. Twisted sheets of tin roofing and lumber were scattered across the landscape. At the former site of Langtang Village, the 9 May 2015 rockfall masked all previous signs of human habitation with a thick debris-layer, though the earthquake-related avalanches had stripped houses to its bones and thus left little to cover. A few prayer flags fluttered in the valley breeze, and the waterfall-fed river that used to power a small hydroelectric plant still flowed into the debris. We raised some prayer flags of our own, and remembered those who lost their lives in the earthquake and its aftermath.

The team continued upvalley, and we spent 10 days to repair broken weather stations, replace broken sensors and solar panels, and conduct surveys of surface height change of the debris-covered Langtang and Lirung glaciers with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). We scrambled along moraines to visit and maintain precipitation stations at 4,500m above Langshisha Kharka and Morimoto Basecamp, stood in the near-freezing waters of Langshisha Karka to measure water flows, and spent two nights at the base Yala Glacier (5,100 m), where the absence of recent snow cover indicated a very warm monsoon season. Having revived the weather stations will provide data to understand patters of temperature and precipitation changes and how this influences glacial melt in the valley. Though the valley and its inhabitants are still reeling from the earthquake, Langtang Valley remains as impressive and awe-inspiring as it ever was. ICIMOD will continue to support the people of Langtang through ongoing scientific research and outreach.

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator at webmaster@icimod.org to inform them of the time this error occurred, and the actions you performed just before this error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Stay current

Stay up to date on what’s happening around the HKH with our most recent publications and find out how you can help by subscribing to our mailing list.

Sign Up

Related Contents

Continue exploring this topic

3 Apr 2017 Himalica
Bandarban Destination Management Plan Validation Workshop

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA) jointly ...

6 Mar 2015 News
ICIMOD Engages with the Corporate Sector for Sustainable Ecosystem Goods and Services

The overarching objective of the joint workshop was to create a platform for the ...

26 Nov 2018 REEECH
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Capability for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (REEECH) Initiative launched to address energy poverty in the region

The HKH region is energy poor in spite of its vast potential for hydropower and other sources of energy such ...

17 Jul 2017 News
A Milestone for Local Water Management in the Koshi Basin

The local community in Saptari, a district in the Terai region of Nepal, is elated with news that their local ...

15 Jun 2016 News
Payment for Ecosystem Services for Drinking Water Schemes in Dhankuta, Koshi Hills, is Becoming a Reality

After a yearlong effort through an action research by ICIMOD’s Koshi Basin Programme (KBP) and its partner Green Governance of Nepal ...

6 Jul 2016 News
Partnership Brokering Training at ICIMOD

Practice-based learnings for effective partnership brokering develops robust, efficient and innovative partnerships. Offered as an open call ...

6 Feb 2015 Cryosphere
Master Programme Thesis

Florencia Matina Tuladhar completed her thesis on “Determination of factors influencing recession ...

1 Apr 2016 News
Building Expertise in CBFEWS

ICIMOD, in collaboration with Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority and Focus Humanitarian Assistance, is planning to pilot Community Based Flood ...