, Volume 25, Issue 2–3, pp 255–263 | Cite as

Characteristics of glacier outburst flood in the Yarkant river, Karakorum mountains

  • Feng Qinghua 


1. The drainage of the Kyagar glacier dammed lake and the Tram Kangri glacier dammed lake at the upper Shaksgam is the main reason for glacier outburst floods in the Yarkant river. The Kyagar glacier dammed lake is characterized by subglacial drainage, while the Tram Kangri glacier dammed lake by mainly lateral drainage and, secondly, by subglacial drainage.

2. The drainage mechanism of the Tram Kangri ice dam determines the main characteristics of flood hydrography of the Kagun station, while the Kyagar glacier dammed lake plays an important role in the formation of floods.

3. Glacier outburst floods in the Yarkant river are characterized mainly by high peak discharge, big rising rate, small total volume and short duration. The floods happen mostly from late summer to early autumn. A period of 6 to 10 years in occurrence of large scale glacier outburst floods exist. The periodicity depends mainly on large scale drainage in the Kyagar ice-dammed lake.

4. Formation and dimensions of glacier dams at the upper Shaksgam were determined by long-term variations of the regional climate, whereas the changes of storage capacity in the lake reflect cold and warm changes of alpine region.

Therefore, frequent glacier outburst floods indicate glacier advance and climatic variations.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Feng Qinghua 
    • 1
  1. 1.Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and GeocryologyAcademia SinicaLanzhouPR China

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