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  Home  »  Kyrgyzstan  »  Geography  »   Glaciers
 
 

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Glaciers




GlaciersAt the highest altitudes, snow falls and does not melt. As more snow falls, it compresses that which is already lying on the ground, and forms sheets of ice. Some of the ice is forced down mountain valleys forming valley glaciers gouging a course (typified in U-shaped valleys and hanging streams, which are left over once the ice retreats), and carrying debris (moraine) along its course to deposit it some great distance away.

The ice in valley glaciers, (known locally as ice rivers), can move at a rate between 3 and 40 cm a day, depending upon the size width, thickness and slope of the valley. At the edges are often found crevasses which may easily be covered by freshly fallen snow, and so present a particular hazard to mountaineers.

Glaciers, (8000 of them one source says 8208), and permanent snow cover some 8100 square kilometers - about 30% of the total land area of the Kyrgyz Republic. The glaciers themselves cover about 4% of the surface area of the country.

The most famous is the Enilchek Glacier actually there are two branches Northern and Southern in the Peak Pobeda/Khan Tengri massif in the Eastern Tien Shan .

Some glaciers are within easy reach of Bishkek, (for example the Ak-Sai and Adygene in Ala Archa National park ), and several companies offer two or three day treks to them.

Together, the glaciers contain some 580 billion cubic meters of water - enough to cover the whole of Kyrgyzstan to a depth of 3m.

Here is a list of some of the major glaciers to be found in the republic. Different sources sometimes give different figures for their length and area possibly a sign of the effects of climate change.

Glacier

Location

River

Length (km)

Area (sq. km)

Altitude at foot

Southern Enilchek

Pobeda/Khan Tengri

Enilchek

60.5

632.3

2980

Northern Enilchek

Pobeda/Khan Tengri

Mezebacher Lakes

32.8

215.2

3400

Kayingdi

Pobeda/Khan Tengri

Kayingdi

29.0

97.2

3400

Korjinevskovo

Zapaiski Ridge

Djanai Dartak

21.5

99.4

3890

Mushketova

Pobeda/Khan Tengri

Arir Ter

20.5

71.3

3440

Semyenova

Pobeda/Khan Tengri

Sary Jaz

20.2

64.5

3340

Lenin

Lenin

Achik Tash

13.5

58.1

3760

Mushketova

Kakshaal

Kotur

13.3

23.0

3940

Nalivkina

Kakshaal

Ai-Tala

13.2

19.5

3960

Keikal

Pobeda/Khan Tengri

Terekti

12.9

26.8

3380

Petrova

Ak Sheirak

-

14.3

73.9

-



 
 
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