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Is Gangotri heading for a Kedarnath like disaster?
A lake in Gangotri Glacier is showing signs of a horrific disaster like Kedarnath. If the lake forming at the mouth of Gaumukh takes shape as per predictions, its size would become four times bigger than the lake of Chaurabari Glacier, which had caused the Kedarnath disaster.

This revelation came to light recently after a team of scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology returned from the tour of Gaumukh. Interestingly, this is the same institute which had warned in the same way before the Kedarnath disaster in 2004, a good 9 years before the tragedy actually struck at Kedarnath in 2013.

According to geologists, the threat being posed by the lake forming at Gaumukh should be taken seriously. Dr PS Negi, senior scientist of the institute said that the lake had started forming at Gaumukh after the floods in July this year. The lake started taking shape after a pile of debris 30 meters high collected at the mouth of the stream due to the flood. At the moment the lake is 4 meters deep.

The stream which earlier used to flow straight has now shifted course and started flowing from the right side. And, if in case, this flow gets disrupted somehow, a huge lake measuring 30 meters in height, 50-60 meters in length and 150 meters wide shall form.

If this happens, then the heap of debris which comprises of boulders, sand and ice blocks will break within one stroke.

It should be noted that the lake at Chaurabari Glacier responsible for the Kedarnath disaster was just 7 meters deep.

Dr Negi has warned of catastrophe as this lake has the capacity to amass way more debris and water in comparison to the Chaurabari Lake. Just imagine, if the Chaurabari Lake which was just 7 meters deep and less than 100 meters wide caused massive devastation at Kedarnath, how much destruction this much larger lake could cause at Gangotri!

However, Negi says that there is a solution to avert a major tragedy. According to him, it is not advisable to fiddle with the debris at this high altitude in the Himalayan region. Negi suggests that ample arrangements of security should be made in the lower regions of Gaumukh like Gangotri etc.

The Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology had issued a similar prediction on the lake formed at Chaurabari Glacier in 2004. The report regarding the institute's prediction had been even carried by popular Hindi daily newspaper Dainak Jagran. But the administration failed to take note of the warning. Had the threat been taken seriously, a lot of lives could have been saved.

In June 2013, nearly 6000 people were killed after torrential rains triggered massive floods and landslides in Uttarakhand. The worst hit districts were Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi, where shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are located.

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