Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 367–374 | Cite as

New findings concerning the Pleistocene Glaciation of the Leh Basin, Ladakh (34°03′ N/77°38′ E)

  • Hermann AchenbachEmail author


Like for most parts of High Asia, researches concerning the Pleistocene landscape evolution of the Leh Basin (34°03′ N/77°38′ E) have also left contradictions. To push this topic, three up to now unexplored Ladakh Range tributaries of the Leh Basin (Stagmo-, Arzu- and Nang-Valley) have been investigated. U-shaped profiles, transfluence passes, moraine mantled and glacially rounded peaks and ridges, roches moutonnées, glacial flank polishings and ground moraines document the former glaciation of the study area. The ice fillings of these tributaries reached a minimum thickness up to 540 m. Even at the valley outlets and on the orographic right side of the Leh Basin, the glaciation was more than 350 m thick. Based on these empirically extracted results, theoretical snow line considerations lead to the conclusion that the whole Leh Basin was filled up by a former Indus-Valley glacier. An ice injection limited to the nourishment areas of the Ladakh Range valleys could not have caused the reconstructed ice cover (down to 3236 m a.s.l.), which is proved by extended ground moraine complexes. Only an Indus ice stream network (most likely during the LGP), nourished by inflowing glaciers of the Ladakh- and Stok Range, explains the widespread existence of the glacial sediments at the outlets of the investigated valleys.


Glacial-geomorphology Former glaciation Last glacial period Equilibrium line altitude High Asia 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geographical InstituteUniversity of Goettingen, Department of High Mountain Geomorphology and GeographyGoettingenGermany

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