Why NASA is worried about Shimshal Valley?

Why NASA is worried about Shimshal Valley?

While travelling on Pakistani section of 918 km long Karakorum Highway (N-35), we take a right turn near Passu over Hunza River onto a road that moves along Shimshal River and leads deep into Shimshal valley. This “Mountaineers Valley of Pakistan” has various PakPeaks around it including PakPeak Distaghil Sar (7885 m), PakPeak Shimshal White Horn (6303 m), PakPeak Minglik Sar (6150 m), PakPeak Lupghar Sar (7200 m), PakPeak Yazghail Sar (6000 m) and PakPeak Kunjut Sar.

NASA worried Shimshal Valley -1

Owing to presence of such huge PakPekas several glaciers flow into the Shimshal Valley perpendicular to the flow of the Shimshal River. Four of these glaciers are at the center of scientists attention at NASA monitoring the impacts of global warming. These four glaciers are Khurdopin, Yukshin Gardan, Yazghil, and Malunguti.

 

NASA worried Shimshal Valley -2

Once these glaciers slides and bump into the narrow valley they have little room to move before meeting with the Shimshal River. This little maneuvering space can result in blocking of the river itself.

More recently activities occurring in 47 km long and located at an altitude of 5800m, Khurdopin Glacier are the main cause of scientists worry.After showing marginal movement over the years , the gigantic Khurdopin Glacier began  to rapidly advance in October 2016. By March 2017 it was accelerating at an astonishing rate of roughly 20 meters (65 feet) per day which is one of the fastest rates observed for a glacier in this region. This resulted in creation of a sizable glacial lake.

NASA worried Shimshal Valley -3

However by July 2017, the river had carved a way out  through the glacier before the lake could grow extremely large. In late July 2017, the size of the lake dropped from 100,000 sqm to about 40,000 sqm in a few days causing a flood downstream that damaged bridges, farmland and a key road.By August 3, 2017, the lake had completely drained.

The rapid draining of even a relatively small lake can have dramatic consequences downstream. Historical records show that surging glaciers have triggered at least 20 of these glacial lake outburst floods over the past century—making the valley one of the most vulnerable in the Karakoram.

Pakistanis can still recall a not too different incident when in 2010, in the Attabad area near Hunza a massive landslide blocked the river and created now famous Attabad Lake.

The possibility of a rapidly moving glacier like Khurdopin blocking the way of River Shimshal, creation of  a natural dam and associated glacial lake and eventually breaching of natural dam with a catastrophic floods downstream might be worst case scenario but is a plausible scientific reality.

(Source : NASA Earth Observatory , Images : NASA and Mr Waheed Anwar of FOCUS  )

 

Gorakh – Highest Pak Peak of Sindh

Gorakh Hill – Highest PakPeak of Sindh

Gorakh (Sindhi: گورک‎), (Urdu: گورکھ‎) is a Hill Station of Sindh, Pakistan. It is situated at an elevation of 5,689 ft (1,734 m) in the Kirthar Mountains, 94 kilometres (58 mi) northwest of Dadu city.

The name Gorakh is derived from the Brahvi language in which, word “Gurgh” means Wolf and that Balochi language word “Gurkh” is later dialectic adaptation of Brahvi language word Gurgh meaning wolf.

Gorakh Hill Station is situated on one of the highest plateaus of Sindh, spread over 2,500 acres (10 km2) of land.

Gorakh’s elevation gives it a special climate, with sub-zero temperatures during winter and generally below 20 °C in summer, with about 120 mm of average annual rainfall.

The Government of Sindh is in the process of constructing a new road from Dadu to Gorakh Hill. There is a new rest house for visitors on the hill. Tourists can arrange their own transport from Sehwan Sharif to the hill station.


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Himalayas in Pakistan

Nanga Parbat from Babusar Top

World’s largest mountain range extends into Pakistan and contains numerous high altitude mountains.The Western Himalayan Range is situated in Kashmir valley and Northern Pakistan, to the south and east of Indus River, and is dominated by Nanga Parbat massif with highest peak rising 8125 metres above the sea level, Pakistan’s 2nd and world’s 9th highest peak. Nanga Parbat peak is also famous for its unique Rupal Face which rises 4,600 meters straight above its base and the mountain is considered as one of the most difficult and dangerous to climb, nick named as Killer Mountain.Few of the other Himalyan mountains of Pakistan are

No. Pak Peaks Height (m) Location
1 Nanga Parbat 8,126 Gilgit-Baltistan
2 Silberzachen 7,597 Nanga Parbat  Region
3 Rakhiot Peak 7,070 Nanga Parbat Region
4 Chongra Peak 6,830 Nanga Parbat  Region
5 Ganalo Peak 6,606 Nanga Parbat  Region
6 Laila Peak 5,971 Rupal Valley
7 Shaigiri 5,688 Rupal Valley
8 Buldar Peak 5,602 Nanga Parbat  Region
9 Malika Parbat 5,290 Kaghan Valley
10 Jalipur Peak North 5,215 Nanga Parbat
11 Ditchil 5,084 Deosai
12 Chattewala 4,917
13 Jabardar 4,511 Fairy Meadows, Jalipur
14 Dinewar 4,100
15 Tingrel 4,085
16 Chhugam 4,064 Nanga Parbat
17 Makra Peak 3,586 Kaghan Valley

 


Read more

17 Pak Peaks of Hindukush Mountains 
Mountain Ranges of Pakistan


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Ranges of Pakistan

Pakistan is host to three of the world’s biggest and most spectacular mountain ranges, the Himalaya, the Karakoram and the Hindukush. The convergence of these magnificent ranges, at the confluence of Indus and Gilgit rivers near Jaglot -a small town 40 Km south of Gilgit city-, create a unique geographical feature on earth.

These magnificent mountain ranges are also home to one of the densest collection of highest and most precipitous mountain peaks in the world. These include five, out of the total fourteen, above 8000 meter high peaks in the world, including the second highest mountain peak -the PakPeak K-2 (8611m), PakPeak Gasherbrum 1, PakPeak Gasherbrum 2, PakPeak Broad Peak and PakPeak Nanga Parbat. Nevertheless these mountain ranges also boast more than 100 peaks above 7000 meters and around 700 peaks above 6000 meters.

1. Himalayas (Western) Mountain Range

The world’s largest mountain range Himalayas is about 2400 km long and it runs through Nepal, Bhutan, China, India and Astore District in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. The Western Himalayan Range is situated in Kashmir valley and Northern Pakistan, to the south and east of Indus River, and is dominated by Nanga Parbat massif. World’s ninth highest and the “killer” mountain Nanga Parbat is the western most anchor of the western Himalayas.

2. Karakoram Range
The Karakoram Range covers the borders between Pakistan, India and China, in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan), Ladakh (India), and Xinjiang region, (China). The range is about 500 km (311 mile) in length, and is bounded on the northeast by the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and on the north by the Pamir Mountains. The southern boundary of the Karakoram is formed, west to east, by the Gilgit, Indus, and Shyok Rivers, which separate the range from the northwestern end of the Himalaya range. Karakoram range has more than 60 peaks which are above 7,000 metres (22,960 ft). This range includes K2, which is the second highest peak of the world standing at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft). A European team first attempted to climb K2 in 1856. A member of this team, Thomas Montgomerie, named this peak “K2” as it was the second in order in the Karakoram range. The other five peaks are named as K1 (Masherbrum), K3 (Broad Peak), K4 (Gasherbrum II) and K5 (Gasherbrum I). The Siachen Glacier at 70 km and the Biafo Glacier at 63 km rank as the world’s second and third longest glaciers outside the polar regions. The range has always been one of the most liked mountain range among the mountaineers and trekkers from around the world due to its scenery, its lakes and surroundings .
The main karakorum range is the continental divide of southern Asia. Rivers to the south flow into the Arabian Sea. Rivers to the north flow to the Yellow Sea.

3. Hindu Kush Range
The 966 km long Hindukus Mountain Range located iIn the north-west of Pakistan straddles both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most parts of the high Hindu Kush range (Eastern Hindu Kush range), are located in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. This range is also present in Ghizar, Yasin Valley, and Ishkoman in Pakistans Northern Areas. PakPeak Tirich Mir (7,690 metres or 25,230 feet)., located in Chitral (25,289 ft) is the highest point in the Hindu Kush range. Noshaq located at Pak Afghan border is second highest peak of HinduKush Range and is considered highest peak of Afghanistan.
The Hindukush rises South West of Pamirs. It is considered to extend from Wakhjir pass at the junctions of the Pamirs and Karakoram to Khawak pass North of Kabul. Its first region extends from Wakhjir pass separating Hunza from Wakhan. Its second region lies beyond Dorah pass in Afghanistan. The third region lies in Pakistan and extends into Swat and Kohistan areas. On the East it is separated from Karakoram by Mighty Indus River.

4. Sulaiman Mountain Range
The Sulaiman Mountains are located in northern Balochistan and Zabul province of Afghanistan. It is present at the border of the Indian Subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau and west of the Indus River. Takht-e-Sulaiman, meaning Solomon’s Throne with a height of 3,487 m (11,437 feet) in Balochistan is the highest peak of Sulaiman Mountains.Suleiman Range is Pakistan’s forth major mountain range. It emerges in the south western region of the country, mostly covering Baluchistan Province. However the mountain range is quite different in character from the Northern Mountains as it is less precipitous and with medium elevations.

5. Salt Range
In Punjab there is a hill system called as ‘The Salt Range’. It gets its name from the extensive rock salt deposits present in the area. This range lies across the northern province of Punjab, from the Jhelum River to the Indus. The famous salt mines of Khewra, Mayo, Warcha and Kalabagh are present in ‘The Salt Range’.

6. Safed Koh (The White Mountain Range)
The Safed Koh or the White Mountain range lies at the Pakistan Afghanistan border. It ranges up to 4,761 metres (15,620 ft) above sea-level.

7. Kirthar Mountain Range
Kirthar Mountains are located in Sindh and Balochistan. The range extends southward for nearly 300km from the Mula River (Balochistan) to Cape Muari (west of Karachi) on the Arabian Sea. The maximum altitude of the Kirthar range that is present in Sindh is almost 7,056 feet above sea-level, which makes it Sindh’s highest peak. This range is present a few miles north-west of the Gorakh Hill Station (5,688 feet.)

8. Hindu Raj Range
The Hindu Raj is a subsidiary range of Hindu Kush located between the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram Ranges.
PakPeak Koyo Zom 6872 (22,546 ft) is its highest peak.of Hindu Raj Range.It is called as Mont Blanc of Pakistan and is located on the boundry of provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.
PakPeak Falaksher is the second highest peak of Hindu Raj. It lies south of Gilgit and sout-east of Chitral, between the River Ushu and Indus.

The other notebale Pakistani mountain Ranges include
9. Spin Ghar Mountains with PakPeak Sikaram (4,761 m or 15,620 feet)
10. Margalla Hills with PakPeak Tilla Charouni (1604 m or 5263 feet.) as its highest peak.
11. Toba Kakar Range
12. Makran Range

Find out more about “17 Pak Peaks of Hindu Kush ” or explore about “Pakistan’s Ultimate Confusion with “K”.

 

17 Pak Peaks of Hindu Kush

The 966 km long Hindukush Mountain Range located in the north-west of Pakistan overlaps both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most parts of the Hindu Kush range (Eastern Hindu Kush range), are located in Northern Pakistan , Afghanistan. This range is also present in Ghizar, Yasin Valley, and Ishkoman in Pakistan’s s Northern Areas.

In his travel memoirs about India, the 14th century Moroccan traveller Muhammad Ibn Battuta mentioned crossing into India via the mountain passes of the Hindu Kush.He wrote

After this I proceeded to the city of Barwan, in the road to which is a high mountain, covered with snow and exceedingly cold; they call it the Hindu Kush, that is Hindu-slayer, because most of the slaves brought thither from India die on account of the intenseness of the cold.

               Ibn Batutta, Chapter XIII, Rihla – Khorasan

The Hindukush rises South West of Pamirs. It is considered to extend from Wakhjir pass at the junctions of the Pamirs and Karakoram to Khawak pass North of Kabul. Its first region extends from Wakhjir pass separating Hunza from Wakhan. Its second region lies beyond Dorah pass in Afghanistan. The third region lies in Pakistan and extends into Swat and Kohistan areas. On the East it is separated from Karakoram by Mighty Indus River.
PakPeak Tirich Mir (7708) metres or 25,230 feet)., located in Chitral (25,289 ft) is the highest point in the Hindu Kush range. PakPeak Noshaq (7492m) located at Pak Afghan border is second highest peak of Hindu Kush Range and is considered highest peak of Afghanistan.
Few of the famous PakPeaks of Hindu Kush Range are following.

 

No.

Names Height (m)

Location

1 PakPeak Tirich Mir 7,708m Chitral
2 PakPeak Noshaq 7,492 m  Pak Afghan border
3 PakPeak Udren Zom (North) 7,108 m Chitral
4 PakPeak Akher Chhish 7,020 m Chitral
5 PakPeak Koyo Zom 6,871 m Pechus Glacier,Kishmanja
6 PakPeak Thui I 6,660 m Ponarillo Glacier, Kishmanja
7 PakPeak Gul Lasht Zom 6,657 m Lutkho Valley
8. PakPeak Buni Zom 6,550 m Shishi & Golen Valleys
9. PakPeak Thui II 6,523 m Shetor Glacier, Thui Pass
10 PakPeak Ghamubar I 6,518 m Ghamubar Glacier , Shetor Glacier, Thui Pass
11. PakPeak  Ghamubar II 6,432 m Ghamubar Glacier, Darkot
12. PakPeak Ghuchhar Sar 6,249 m Buni Zom group
13. PakPeak Garmush 6,244 m Garmush Glacier, Darkot
14. PakPeak Chikar Zom 6,110 m Chatebori Glacier, Darkot Pass
15. PakPeak Falakser 5,918 m Ushu valley, Swat-kohistan
16. PakPeak Mankial 5,726 m Swat Valley
17. PakPeak Kurkun 4,890 m

 

You can explore more about the ” Hind Kush’s Second Highest PakPeak Noshaq ” located at the Pak-Afghan Border.

Alternatively find out about  ” Pakistan’s Ultimate Confusion with “K”.

A National and a Natural Monument

Junction Point of three mightiest mountain ranges of world near Gilgit deserves much better monument than this.

National monuments are representative of a nation’s ambitions and aspirations. Over time they become an integral identity of a country, city or a nation. Eiffel tower for Paris, Statue of liberty for US, Tower of London for UK, Burj Khalifa for Dubai and Petronas Towers for Malaysia are not mere steel or cement structures raised to meet the demands of a growing metropolis but insignias of valor, determination and progress of their people.

So what can be the “National Monument for Pakistan”. Obviously Pakistan have well defined monuments for individual cities like Faisal mosque for Islamabad, Minar-e-Pakistan for Lahore, Mizar Qauid for Karachi, Bab-e-Khyber for Peshawar and Ziarat Residency for Quetta. Over the years these monuments had been well engrained in our collective  memory.

But the question remains what can be or should be the singular and most representative “National Monument “ for Pakistan.Which place qualifies for the building such an important monument?

In our humble view such an important monument is yet to be built.
But Where?

40 km short of GiIlgit on Karakorum Highway.

The national landmarks are normally “towering” structures casting and projecting the passions, ambitions and aspirations of a nation or a country. Pakistan is lucky nation to host to three of the world’s biggest and most spectacular mountain ranges, the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindukush. The convergence of these magnificent ranges, at the confluence of Indus and Gilgit rivers near Jaglot -a small town 40 Km south of Gilgit city-, create a unique geographical feature on earth.

What more appropriate place can be found for building a “National Monument” at a junction point of three mightiest mountain ranges and confluence point of two rivers merging together, one i.e Indus being as old as human civilization it self.

Confluence point of River Gilgit and River Indus

The surrounding mountains to this purposed National Monument will give clue to the soaring aspirations of a young nation while merging rivers giving away the message of unity within own country and intention to go along with other nations.

In recent years the site has caught attention of highway department and with the help of Chinese a view point with a well-constructed raised platform along with guidance boards has been emplaced.

The official board at this historical and geographical landmark reads

Where three mightiest mountain ranges of the world meet
“The Karakorum, Hindukash and Himalaya mountain ranges meet here at the confluence of River gilgit and River Indus.East across the Indus is Himalayas,Karakorum in the North and in the west is Hindukush.The Himalaya is about 2400 km long, runs through Nepal,Bhutan,China, India and Pakistan.The Karakorum 500 km long mostly lies in the Gilgit , Baltistan, Pakistan.The 966 km long Hindukush straddles both Afghanistan an Pakistan.

Hence to acknowledge and under score the importance of  this iconic point, it needs a National Monument may be  in the form of a watch / view tower or some other structure.

Astride modern day marvel Karakorum Highway and centuries old Indus River flowing nearby, under the shadow of three mightiest mountain ranges of the world,  this monument is already half built by nature.
The remaining job is ours.