Monitoring of Bashkara Glacier lakes (Central Caucasus, Russia) and modelling of their potential outburst
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Petrakov, D.A., Tutubalina, O.V., Aleinikov, A.A. et al. Nat Hazards (2012) 61: 1293. doi:10.1007/s11069-011-9983-5
- 315 Downloads
Glacier lakes pose threat to downstream settlements and infrastructure. In recent decades the number and area of lakes have been growing at an accelerating rate due to worldwide glacier shrinkage. In the Russian Caucasus this process is understudied. We present results obtained during a 12-year (1999–2010) continuous field monitoring of the Bashkara proglacial lakes group, which we identified as the place with the highest GLOF risk in the region. Recession of the parent Bashkara Glacier was the main driver of the rapid expansion of the lower Lake Lapa. The upper Lake Bashkara has not been enlarging, but its water level has shown significant inter- and intra-annual fluctuations. The lake outburst probability has increased in recent years, and in 2008 we observed surface overflow over the moraine dam. Taking into account that in the late 1950s lake outbursts at this site led to large-scale glacial debris flows, we have simulated a potential outburst using River and FLO-2D software and carried out hazard zonation. An early warning system has been designed and established at Lake Bashkara, and measures to mitigate risk have been proposed. Rapid change of proglacial lakes requires regular monitoring in ‘hot spot’ areas where the GLOF hazard is high and is dynamically changing.