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Abstract

The Himalaya are often referred to as the third pole of the Earth because they host the largest areal extent of glaciation outside the polar regions. Estimating the volume of these glaciers is challenging because the ice thickness of most of the glaciers is not accurately known. Depth profiling of the north-facing Hamtah and Parang glaciers was carried out using ground-penetrating radar surveys. The 6 km long Hamtah glacier and the 2.5 km long Parang glacier, with average widths of 350 and 250 m, respectively, are located in different U-shaped valleys. The depth of the ice–bedrock interface varied from 35 to 95 m in the Hamtah glacier and from 40 to 140 m in the Parang glacier. The valley profiles and ground-penetrating radar data were combined to obtain the volumes of the glaciers. The total volumes of ice in the Parang and Hamtah glaciers were estimated to be 0.179 and 0.375 km3, respectively. Shape analyses of different parts of these glaciers suggest that mathematical equations can be used to describe their sequential development. The retreat rates of the Parang and Hamtah glaciers were estimated to be 11.04 and 16.10 m a−1, respectively.

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