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          Navy divers measure depth of glacial lake at 14,000 ft

          Navy divers measure depth of glacial lake at 14,000 feet altitude

          With no road access to the lake and time criticality, the naval diving team was quickly mobilised and dispatched

          Aerial view shows washed away Tapovan hydel power project plant after Sunday's glacier burst, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Credit: PTI Photo

          In a challenging mission, Indian Navy divers have measured the depth of a glacial lake formed at an altitude of nearly 14,000 ft near Tapovan in Uttarakhand following the devastating flash flood earlier this month.

          The scientists will now use this critical data to determine the pressure on the mud wall of the dam so that the administration can take a decision on releasing the water.

          The divers were winched by Indian Air Force Advanced Light Helicopter into the lake on Saturday to measure the depth of the glacial lake formed 5 km upstream of Tapovan.

          They recorded the data using a handheld echo sounder (depth measuring equipment) in near-freezing waters, said a Navy spokesperson.

          Throughout the evaluation, the IAF pilots maintained accurate positioning in difficult terrain to ensure the operation went ahead smoothly.

          The lake was formed due to the avalanche that triggered the flood. The water catchment not being natural, the administration urgently needed to assess the condition of the catchment by measuring the depth of water.

          Earlier a team of mountaineers and disaster relief personnel had trekked to the location to make an on-the-spot assessment at the location where the avalanche crashed into Rishiganga river, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction.

          Naresh Rana, a geologist with Hemavati Nandan Bahuguna University had shared a video showing the lake and cautioned that it could lead to another flash flood.

          With no road access to the lake and time criticality, the naval diving team was quickly mobilised and dispatched onboard the IAF ALH so that they could collect the data.

           
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