Report on observed outburst flood in Khumbu

In June 2016, a team of scientists visiting the Khumbu region observed a flood near Chukhung. Rare footage of floodwaters exiting the nearby Lhotse glacier and flowing towards Chukung on 12 June 2016, was recorded by Elisabeth Byers, and now the scientists have written up a a short open-source article on the event and their observations of this and a previous flood in the region, published in The Cryosphere.

Here is a reproduction of Figure 2 from this article illustrating the features of the 2016 flood (I think this is allowed as its an open source paper!):

Figure: Key features of the glacier outburst flood from Lhotse Glacier: (a) subsurface and supraglacial flooding where the event was first observed; (b) main channels of flood path during the flood’s peak; (c) flood undercutting the gabions at Chukhung, at 14:19; (d) potentially drained pond with large bare ice faces behind it; (e) potentially drained pond with a collapsed englacial conduit behind it; (f) potentially drained pond with sinkholes; (g) meltwater exiting the glacier into the main channel via a large englacial conduit; (h) a vertical englacial conduit and sinkholes with wet, fine sediment indicating a drainage pathway; and (i) large vertical crevasses with clean ice likely from the supraglacial flood path.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (NSF-CNH) Program (award no. 1516912), and Dhananjay Regmi of Himalayan Research Expeditions provided logistical support and Bidhya Sharma provided additional images and videos for this study.

Rounce, D. R., Byers, A. C., Byers, E. A., and McKinney, D. C.: Brief communication: Observations of a glacier outburst flood from Lhotse Glacier, Everest area, Nepal, The Cryosphere, 11, 443-449, doi:10.5194/tc-11-443-2017, 2017.

About lindsey

Environmental scientist. I am glaciologist specialising in glacier-climate interactions to better understand the climate system. The point of this is to understand how glaciated envionments might change in the future - how the glaciers will respond and what the impact on associated water resources and hazard potential will be.
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