“Siachen is truly the no-man’s land”
On early April 9, a deadly avalanche engulfed Pakistan army headquarters near the Siachen Glacier in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya. The tragedy occurred at an altitude of 15,000 feet, the avalanche has left snow up to 25 metres. Siachen has been named as ”The no-man’s-land” which is 20,000 feet above sea level. Some 130 people have been buried due to the incident most of them are Pakistani soldiers.
In 2010, an avalanche killed some 24 Pakistani troops in 2010 while just few months back, an avalanche killed 13 Indian troops, this disputed region is prone to such incidents!
What is an Avalanche?
An avalanche is a fast-moving flow of snow and ice that rapidly travel down a mountain slope, uprooting trees and anything in its path.
Many factors cause an avalanche including the weather, the temperature, the steepness of the slope, the direction of the slope, wind direction and terrain. An avalanche is very unpredictable and extremely dangerous.
How does it occur?
It occurs when the layers of snow near the surface cannot be supported by the layers below, causing a flow of snow to move at a rapid speed down the mountainside. Avalanches generally happen after a snowstorm. As more snow accumulates, this builds more pressure on the snow, causing more stress. The weather and temperature are also important factors, as the sun beats down on the snow, it causes melting, however colder nights cause the snow to freeze. Warm weather fronts are dangerous, causing unstable temperatures and changes in the snow. It has been said that avalanches occur in the north, east and the northeast, because shadows are generally cast in these directions causing unstable snow conditions, cooling and warming temperatures.
Disturbed weather coming ahead
A fresh rain front is approaching the northern parts of Pakistan that is bringing moderate form of precipitation that includes mostly rain with hail as well as snow expected at higher altitudes. The weather system is very likely to start its activity from tomorrow in the north-western parts of the country that would spread till the northern areas including Siachen on April 9, this activity is very likely to continue till middle of the next week. During this period heavy rainfall is expected over the regions of Azad and Jammu Kashmir, rainfall could exceed 100 mm at isolated places between Azad Kashimar and Indian Kashmir during this week. The real threat over Siachen however is the maximum wind speed which may reach to 90 km/h while more than 4 cm snowfall could also fell over that area that is very likely to hamper the rescue operation.
PWP is closely monitoring the weather of Siachen and surrounding area for any development of severe weather.
2 replies to “Avalanche in Pakistan – Tragedy at Himalayas!”
@ K.M, I thing Western Disturbance is the main cause of severe weather over & near these areas.
well, WD brings high gust to those areas…but Siachen is located at a very high altitude..