Академическое издательство «Гео»

Kolka Glacier, glacial disaster, North Ossetia-Alania, glacier advance, ice blockage degradation, forecast



KRIOSFERA ZEMLI, 2013, Vol. XVII, № 1, p. 35-46

Changes in the area of Genaldon glacial disaster in 2002–2010

D.A. Petrakov1, V.N. Drobyshev2, A.A. Aleinikov1,3, K.A. Aristov1,
O.V. Tutubalina1, S.S. Chernomorets1

1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Geography,
119991, Moscow, Leninskie Gory, 1, Russia; dpetrakov@gmail.com
2Vladikavkaz Scientific Center of the RAS and the Government of the Republic North Ossetia-Alania,
362008, Vladikavkaz, Kosta Av., 93, Russia
3R&D Center ScanEx, 119021, Moscow, Rossolimo Str., 5/22, b. 1, Russia

We have analyzed changes in the area of Genaldon glacial disaster on 20 September 2002 in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania (Russia). Using results of annual fieldwork (2002–2010), topographic surveys in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2009, and interpretation of satellite imagery, we have determined the rate of glacier regeneration in the Kolka cirque and the rate of downwasting for the ice accumulated in the Karmadon depression in 2002. We register accumulation of 16 M m3 in the Kolka cirque in 2004–2009 despite unfavorable conditions for Caucasus glaciers. Former Kolka Glacier tributaries have become separate glaciers, one of them has advanced by 500 m. It is a unique phenomena for the Caucasus in the 21th century. In the bottom of Kolka cirque from where Kolka Glacier evacuated during the 2002 disaster, the glaciercovered area has grown to 0.6 km2 by 2010. The volume of ice blockage in the Karmadon depression decreased by 75 % in 2002–2009, the icecovered area decreased by over 50 %, and surface lowering reached 90 m in some sites. Taking into account the progressive deceleration of ice thawing, we suppose that ice in the depression may exist until 2020. The main current hazard for land use in the Genaldon River valley is the possible initiation of a large-scale rain- or glacier-rain debris flow in case of heavy rainfall. In the next 10–15 years we do not expect recurrence of an event similar to the glacial disaster of 20 September 2002.

Kolka Glacier, glacial disaster, North Ossetia-Alania, glacier advance, ice blockage degradation, forecast
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