Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
The Cryosphere, 15, 1751–1785, 2021
The Cryosphere, 15, 1751–1785, 2021

Research article 12 Apr 2021

Research article | 12 Apr 2021

Sudden large-volume detachments of low-angle mountain glaciers – more frequent than thought?

Andreas Kääb et al.

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Cited articles

Alean, J.: Ice avalanche activity and mass balance of high-altitude hanging glaciers in the Swiss Alps, Ann. Glaciol., 6, 248–249, 1985. 
Aristov, K. A., Petrakov, D. A., Kovalenko, N. V., Timonin, S. A., Kolchin, A. A., and Drobyshev, V. N.: Monitoring of Kolka Glacier in 2014–2017 by terrestrial stereophotogrammetry, Journal Ice and Snow, 59, 49–58,, 2019 (in Russian). 
Avdeev, V. A., Nartov, S. V., Baljinniam, I., Monhoo, D., and Erdenbileg, B.: Tsambagarav earthquake of 23 July 1988, Geology and Geophysics, 11, 118–124, 1989 (in Russian). 
Benn, D. I., Fowler, A. C., Hewitt, I., and Sevestre, H.: A general theory of glacier surges, J. Glaciol., 65, 701–716,, 2019. 
Short summary
Hardly recognized so far, giant catastrophic detachments of glaciers are a rare but great potential for loss of lives and massive damage in mountain regions. Several of the events compiled in our study involve volumes (up to 100 million m3 and more), avalanche speeds (up to 300 km/h), and reaches (tens of kilometres) that are hard to imagine. We show that current climate change is able to enhance associated hazards. For the first time, we elaborate a set of factors that could cause these events.