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Formation and breaching of two palaeolakes around Leh, Indus valley, during the late Quaternary

By
S. A. I. Mujtaba
S. A. I. Mujtaba
1
Geological Survey of India, NIT Faridabad, 121001, India
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Ravish Lal
Ravish Lal
2
Department of Geology, University of Delhi, Delhi 11007, India
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H. S. Saini
H. S. Saini
1
Geological Survey of India, NIT Faridabad, 121001, India
3
Present address: Lingaya’s University, Faridabad, 121002
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Pawan Kumar
Pawan Kumar
1
Geological Survey of India, NIT Faridabad, 121001, India
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N. C. Pant
N. C. Pant
2
Department of Geology, University of Delhi, Delhi 11007, India
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

Of the several types of Quaternary deposits formed by glacial, alluvial and mass-wasting processes, with vast climatic and tectonic significance lake deposits stand out prominently in the Indus valley around the town of Leh. We studied a number of palaeolake deposits between the Zinchan–Indus confluence and Shey village and carried out optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) quartz dating of samples from critical sections. Our results indicate that, during the late Quaternary, the Indus River was dammed at least twice in the narrow gorge downstream of Spituk Gompa, forming a reservoir up to 35 km long in which 20–68 m thick sediments were deposited under fluvial and lacustrine environments. During the older phase, the Indus was blocked by debris of moraines/landslides in the narrow zone near the Zinchan–Indus confluence. The resulting lake existed between c. 125 ± 11 and 87 ± 8 ka during marine isotopic stage (MIS) 5. No evidence of damming material is preserved. Present-day elevations of lake deposits suggest a possible extension of the lake up to Ranbirpura upstream. After the lake breach, the Indus River was again dammed near Phey village by the advancing alluvial fan of the Phyang River. This lake, extending up to Karu, formed at c. 79 ± ka. The lake existed in this phase during c. 72–49 ka, during cold-stage MIS-4. The lake was breached after c. 46 ± 3 ka, however.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

The Himalayan Cryosphere: Past and Present

N.C. Pant
N.C. Pant
University of Delhi, India
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R. Ravindra
R. Ravindra
National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, India
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D. Srivastava
D. Srivastava
Geological Survey of India, India
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L.G. Thompson
L.G. Thompson
The Ohio State University, USA
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The Geological Society of London
Volume
462
ISBN electronic:
9781786203434
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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