, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 181–192 | Cite as

First results on bathymetry and limnology of high-altitude lakes in the Gokyo Valley, Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, Nepal

  • Chhatra Mani SharmaEmail author
  • Subodh Sharma
  • Roshan Man Bajracharya
  • Smriti Gurung
  • Ingrid Jüttner
  • Shichang Kang
  • Qianggong Zhang
  • Qing Li


The aim of this study was to investigate for the first time the morphology, physical and chemical characteristics of three high-altitude lakes in the Gokyo Valley, Everest National Park, Nepal. The moraine-dammed glacial lakes were studied for three seasons to create baseline data. The second, third, and fourth lakes in the Gokyo Valley are deeper than previously assumed. The vertical profiles of temperature and dissolved oxygen indicated that the thermocline zone varied between 10 and 20 m below the surface during the post-monsoon season. Although most of the analyzed metal concentrations were below the level recommended by the WHO for safe drinking water, lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) levels exceeded the limits in some of the samples. This has created great concern for human health. The probable route of these two pollutants is monsoon precipitation that carries industrial pollutants along its route. The sedimentation rates of Gokyo Lakes range from 0.069 to 0.089 cm per annum, which is within the limits of other high-altitude lakes. The present findings created a baseline database for some of the remote high-altitude lakes in Nepal that can be used for lake management and for assessing future changes in lake characteristics in the Himalayan region.


Bathymetry Limnology High-altitude lakes Gokyo The Himalayas 



The first author (Dr. Chhatra Mani Sharma) is supported by a Chinese Academy of Sciences Fellowship for Young International Scientists (grant no. 2009Y2AZ10). The research work was funded to the Aquatic Ecology Center, Kathmandu University, by the WWF Nepal Program (agreement no. WC79). We would like to acknowledge Profs. Reidar Borgstrøm, Bjørn Olav Rosseland, and Inggard Blakar from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences; and Prof. Otto Moog from the Agricultural University of Vienna, Austria, for providing sampling equipment for our first expedition to the Gokyo wetlands. In addition, Dr. Mark Loewen (Canada), Olivier Faber (Luxembourg), James Schalles (USA), Wolfgang Schitter, and Eva Heu (Austria) also deserve our sincere thanks for assisting in the field. The technical support and guidance from Tom Bresnahan from Golden Software were praiseworthy. Rashmi Shrestha, laboratory analyst, and Rosha Raut, PhD candidate at the Aquatic Ecology Centre, Kathmandu University, helped us to analyze the water chemistry in the laboratory. Finally, local people, park officials, and Gokyo Resort also deserve our sincere thanks for their kind cooperation during the entire fieldwork periods. Finally, we thank two anonymous reviewers for giving meaningful comments and suggestions for the improvement of the article.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Limnology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chhatra Mani Sharma
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Subodh Sharma
    • 2
  • Roshan Man Bajracharya
    • 2
  • Smriti Gurung
    • 2
  • Ingrid Jüttner
    • 3
  • Shichang Kang
    • 1
  • Qianggong Zhang
    • 1
  • Qing Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Aquatic Ecology CentreKathmandu UniversityKavreNepal
  3. 3.Department of Biodiversity and Systematic BiologyCathays ParkCardiffUK
  4. 4.Human and Natural Resources Studies CentreKathmandu UniversityKathmanduNepal

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