Paragraph on Glaciers of the Himalayas

Here is your paragraph on the glaciers of the Himalayas!

The Himalayas are the abode of snow and are called the storehouse of snow. Out of a total area of five lakh square kilometres of the Himalayas, about 33,000 sq km area is covered by snow.


Evidences of large snow areas in the past are available in abundance.

The active glaciers and the associated landscape provide an ideal platform for investigation of historic glacial variation. Obviously the Pleistocene ice was far more extensive than that of today. There are about 15,000 glaciers in the Himalayas lying between the two syntaxial bends in the east and west.

The snow line, the lowest level of perpetual snow, varies to a great extent in different parts of the Himalayas depending upon latitude, amount of precipitation and local topography. While the glaciers of Kanchenjunga in Sikkim portion hardly move below 3,965 m, and those of Kumaon and Lahul to 3,660 m, the glaciers of the Kashmir Himalayas may descend to 2,500 m above sea level.

T.D. La Touche while elaborating the cause of these variations has suggested that in part it is due to the increase in latitude from 28° N in Kanchenjunga to 36° N in the Karakoram, and in part because of the fact that the eastern Himalayas rise abruptly from the plains without the intervention of high ranges.


Though the total precipitation is much less in the western Himalayas it all takes place in the form of snow. In the Great Himalayan ranges, the snow line is at lower elevation on the southern slopes than on the northern slopes because the southern slopes are steeper and receive more rainfall as compared to the northern slopes.

Glaciers of the Karakoram Range:

Maximum development of glaciers occurs in the Karakoram range. This range accounts for about 16,000 sq km or about half of the snow bound area of the Himalayan region. Some of the largest glaciers outside the polar and sub-polar regions are found in this range.

Glaciers of the Karakoram

The southern side of this range nourishes a number of gigantic glaciers, some of which are exceeded in size by the great Humboldt of Greenland only. The 75 km long Siachen Glacier in Nubra valley has the distinction of being the largest glacier outside the polar and the sub-polar regions. Lolofond and Teram Shehr are its main tributaries.

The second largest is the 74 km long Fedchenko Glacier. It covers an area of 450 sq km in the north-western Pamir and has a depth of nearly 550 m of ice. Third comes the Hispar Glacier. It is 62 km long and occupies a tributary of the Hunza River.

It combines with 59 km long Biafo Glacier occupying about 65 sq km area of Braldoh valley. Kunyong or Lak (24 km) is an important tributary of the Hisper Glacier. The west flowing Balt or о Glacier also flows in the Braldoh valley. The depth of solid ice at the end of the Baltoro Glacier is about 120 m; the thickness in the middle of the glacier could be much greater.

The great Godwin Austen Glacier drains three sides of K2 and joins the Baltoro Glacier. The Punmah Glacier also flows in the Braldoh valley. This 27 km long glacier has a complex system of branches in its upper reaches. The Batura Glacier draining the Hunza is 58 km long and is considered to be the fifth longest glacier, along with Baltoro, outside the sub-polar region.

The sixth largest glacier outside the sub-polar region is the 50 km long Chogo Lungma glacier in the Rakaposhi Range. It terminates at an altitude of 2075 m, the lowest recorded in the Himalayas. The other two glaciers draining into the Hunza Valley are the Pasu (25 km) and Sasaini or Ghulkin (18 km). The Rimo Glacier occupying the Shyok valley is about 40 km long. It is joined by the 20 km long Yarkand Rimo from the north.

The other Glaciers in the Shyok valley are the Chong Kumdan (21 km) Kichik Kumdan (11 km) and Aktash (8 km). The Khurdopla Glacier in Shingshal valley is 47 km long. The other glaciers of this valley are the Virjerab Glacier (40 km), the Mombil Yaz (32 km), Yazghil (31 km) and the Malangutti Yaz (23 km) The Gasherbrum and the Kyagar in the Shaksgam valley are 21 km long each. The Urdok Glacier lying below these two glaciers is nearly 23 km long.

Glaciers of the Pir Panjal Range:

The glaciers of the Pir Panjal Range are less numerous and smaller in size as compared to those of the Karakoram Range. The longest Sonapani Glacier in the Chandra Valley of Lahul and Spijti region is only 15 km long.


Important Glaciers of the Himalayan Mountains

Name of the Glacier Length (km)Location
The Karakoram Range
1. Siachen75Nabra Valley
2. Fedchenko74South-Western Pamir
3. Hispar62Tributary of Hunza River
4. Biafo59Brabloh Valley
5. Batura58Hunza
6. Baltoro58Braldoh Valley
7. Chogo Lungma50Rakaposhi Range
8. Khurdopla47Shingshal Valley
9. Lolofond40West of Siachen
10. Yarkand Rimo40Shyok Valley
11. MohilYaz32Shingshal Valley
12. Yazhit31Shingshal Valley
13. Godwin Austen30K2
14. Pasu25Hunza
15. Kunyang24Muztagh, Karakoram
16. Chong Kumdon21Shyok
17. Gasherbrum16Gasherbrum
The Pir Panjal Range
18. Sonapani15Chandra Valley of Labul and Speti
19. Bara Shigri10-20Chandra Valley
20. Rakhiot15Nanga Parbat
21. Gangri13Nun Kun Massif
22. Chungphar13Nanga Parbat
The Kumaon-Garhwal Region
23. Gangotri30Source of the Ganga
24. Milam20Gori Ganga
25. Bhagirath Kharak18Near Badrinath
26. Mana18Mana Valley north of the Gangotri
27. Satopanch16Near Badrinath
The Central Nepal Region
28. Yepokangara13.5Gosainthan
29. Lidanda11Manasulu
30. Chhuling11Manasulu
31. Mayondi11Dhaulagiri Himal
The Kanchenjunga-Everest Region
32. Rongbuk52Northern (Tibetan) side of the Mount Everest
33. Zerpu25Zemu Valley (Forms headwaters of the Tista River)
34. Kanchanjunga21North of Kanchanjunga, occupies head of Kanchan river.
35. Khumbu20South of Mt. Everest
36. Kangshung19East of the Mt. Everest
37. Tolam Bau19South-west of the Mt. Everest
38. Barun15North-east of Baruntse peak
39. Rambang10Kanchanjunga

Rising at about 4000 m near the Rohtang Pass and flowing in south west direction it has developed a dry lake basin about 2.5 km long and 1.5 km wide, just below the ice cliff. The Bara Shigri Glacier also occupies the Chandra Valley.

The rough estimates put its length varying from 10 to 20 km. The largest glacier in the Nun Kun massif is the Gangri Glacier which is 13 km long. The glaciers of the Nanga Parbat massif are small in size and are moving fast due to steep slope. The Chungphar, Rakhiot, Buzhi and Tashan are important glaciers.

Glaciers of the Kumaon-Garhwal Region:

In the Kumaon-Garhwal region of the Himalayas, the largest is the 30 km long Gangotri Glacier which is the source of the holy Ganga. It is fed by five tributary glaciers, the largest of which is 24 km long. The second largest glacier of this region is the Milam Glacier which occupies the valley of the Gori Ganga River.

It is 20 km long and is formed by the union of nine tributary glaciers. The other glaciers of this region are the Mana Glacier (18 km), the Bhagirath-Kharak Glacier (18 km), the Satopanch (16 km) the Sankalpa Glacier (12 km and the Raikane Glacier (9 km).

Glaciers of Central Nepal:

Central Nepal comprises the mountain ranges between Cho Oyu and Dhaulagiri. Little known glaciers of this region are confined to the surroundings of Gosainthan, Mansaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains. The 13.5 km long Yepokangara glacier is in the Gosainthan Mountain. Two 11 km long ones are the Lidanda and Chhuling glaciers, both on the south-eastern side of the Manaslu. The Annapurna glacier is in the Annapurna Mountain. Another 11 km long Mayondi glacier is in the north of the Dhaulagiri.

Glaciers of the Kanchenjunga-Everest Region:

In the Kanchenjunga-Everest region, there is Rongbuk Glacier on the northern side of the Mount Everest. This is 52 km long and is considered to be the largest outside the Karakoram. Another important glacier of the Everest group is the Khumbu Glacier, (20 km) lying the south of the Everest.

The 25 km long Zemu Glacier flows in the easterly direction at the head of the Zemu River. It is about one kilometre wide with 180 metre thick ice. The 21 km long Kanchenjunga Glacier descends from the peak of the same name and occupies the head of Kangchen River.

Both the Zemu and the Kanchenjunga glaciers are formed as a result of the union of several branches coming down from the peaks. The Yalung Glacier is 16 km long and flows in a south-west direction from the Kanchenjunga peak.

The Talung Glacier (13 km) also flow southwest wards. This glacier is separated from the Alukthang Glacier by a ridge. Though only 5 km long the Alukthang glacier is unique because it is clearly visible from Darjeeling at the foot of the Kanchenjunga in clear weather. The Knagshung Glacier is 19 km long and flows east of the Everest. The Barun Glacier flowing down the Baruntse peak is about 15 km long.

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