When trying to analyze glacial hazards, it is necessary to look not only at single glaciers or glacial lakes, but to have a broader view at entire catchments: high-magnitude events often occur as complex process chains involving the glacier (ice avalanche into the lake), the lake itself (flood wave and sudden drainage) and the downstream valley (entrainment and deposition of sediment, backwater effects with subsequent outbursts).
Not all hazards in high mountain areas are attributed to climate change. Short-term disturbances like heavy or extended rainfall - destabilizing the slope systems - or powerful earthquakes may trigger gravitational mass movements of high magnitude. Many cases are evident where the deposits of such movements have dammed lakes. Such lakes are then a hazard by themselves. They may drain suddenly by the failure of the dam or by further mass movements into the lake and cause major destruction downstream.
IAG-BOKU is working on the analysis and assessment of high mountain hazards. Currently, the regional focus is on the Pamir in Tajikistan (Central Asia), other research areas include the Hunza Valley in Pakistan and Southern Chile.
Learn more about the projects of IAG-BOKU in Central Asia
This section provides some basic information and access to the details regarding the projects of IAG-BOKU in Central Asia, with a particular focus on Tajikistan.
Links: General information about Tajikistan (Wikipedia) Selection of photos of Tajikistan Presentation about research of IAG-BOKU in Central Asia