Articles | Volume 11, issue 5
Research article
22 Sep 2017
Research article |  | 22 Sep 2017

Structure and evolution of the drainage system of a Himalayan debris-covered glacier, and its relationship with patterns of mass loss

Douglas I. Benn, Sarah Thompson, Jason Gulley, Jordan Mertes, Adrian Luckman, and Lindsey Nicholson

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Cited articles

Benn, D. I., Wiseman, S., and Hands, K.: Growth and drainage of supraglacial lakes on the debris-mantled Ngozumpa Glacier, Khumbu Himal, J. Glaciol., 47, 626–638, 2001.
Benn, D. I., Gulley, J., Luckman, A., Adamek, A., and Glowacki, P.: Englacial drainage systems formed by hydrologically driven crevasse propagation, J. Glaciol., 55, 513–523, 2009.
Benn, D. I., Bolch, T., Dennis, K., Gulley, J., Luckman, A., Nicholson, K.L., Quincey, D., Thompson, S., Tuomi, R., and Wiseman, S.: Response of debris-covered glaciers in the Mount Everest region to recent warming, and implications for outburst flood hazards, Earth Science Reviews, 114, 156–174, 2012.
Benn, D. I., Thompson, S., and Luckman, A.: Surface topography and velocities of Ngozumpa Glacier, Nepal, with links to GeoTIFFs, PANGAEA,, 2017.
Bolch, T., Buchroithner, M., Pieczonka, T., and Kunert, A.: Planimetric and volumetric glacier changes in the Khumbu Himal, Nepal, since 1962 using Corona, Landsat TM and ASTER data, J. Glaciol., 54, 592–600, 2008a.
Short summary
This paper provides the first complete view of the drainage system of a large Himalayan glacier, based on ice-cave exploration and satellite image analysis. Drainage tunnels inside glaciers have a major impact on melting rates, by providing lines of weakness inside the ice and potential pathways for melt-water, and play a key role in the response of debris-covered glaciers to sustained periods of negative mass balance.