Sat. May 18th, 2024

New high-resolution satellite imagery accessed by NDTV shows the site of the breach at the high-altitude South Lhonak Lake in Sikkim where disastrous floods occurred, resulting in the loss of at least 50 lives. The images reveal exposed parts of the lake’s banks, indicating that the water level has significantly dropped after draining out of the breach. This caused massive floods along the Teesta River basin downstream. There is also evidence of a landslide, which may have contributed to the lake bursting its banks. The South Lhonak Lake, located at an altitude of 17,100 feet in northern Sikkim, experienced a decrease in its water level, exposing a large area of the shoreline. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists have stated that the lake’s area reduced by more than half, with only an estimated 60.3 hectares of water remaining. The lake was fed by glacial run-off from the retreating North Lhonak glacier and the main Lhonak glacier, which increased its surface area and depth. Satellite images from February show that the lake was entirely frozen, but recent images depict broken ice and ice floes on the surface. The cause of the ice breakage is still uncertain and could be due to the rush of underlying water or significant melting over the summer months. Additionally, the images reveal clear evidence of a landslide on one of the banks of the lake. This incident raises concerns about the hazard potentials in heavily-populated downstream areas.

By admin