Author(s): Surendar Singh, M N Kaul
The Himalayan glaciers, presently confined above the altitude of 4000m, have existed at the lower altitude levels in the geological past. Glaciers of Quaternary period in Himalaya have retreated continuously with punctuations of minor advances. The evidences of glacial extent and its subsequent retreat can be observed in the form of various landforms in the glacial landscape attributing their origin to glacial and glacio-fluvial geomorphic processes that operated in the geological past. For documenting the palaeoglaciation, it is desirable to have uninterrupted stratigraphic data for a long period. The Quaternary deposits that are main source of data imprints are frequently discontinuous in three dimensions and are a mixture of glacial, glacio-fluvial and fluvial sediments. Thus, the effect of one environment under which the sediments have initially originated gets modified by the influence of other environment, which is responsible for their subsequent transportation and deposition. However, the study of sediments of Quaternary terrain provides a clue to understand the processes in the past and environment in which they originated. Kaul (1990), reconstructed the Quaternary history of Liddar Valley on the basis of pollen analysis, lichenometry, fossil flora and glacial geomorphologic evidences. Dodia, Agarwal and Vora, (1985) gave a summary of climate and geology of Kashmir for last four million years on the basis of pollen analysis of Kashmir Bogs. Mazari, Bagati, Chauhan and Rajagopalam, (1993) recorded their investigation on Trans-Himalayan Lahul-Spiti region and constructed palaeoclimatic record of the area for last 2000 years on the basis of lacustrine facies and pollen analysis. Lewis A. Owen, Christine H. Scott and Edward Derbishire (2000) in their paper on Quaternary glacial history of Nanga Parbat indicated that glacier advanced between 12km to 15km from present ice front.According to them, the maximum extent of glaciation in Nanga Parbat occurred during the early part of last glacial cycle followed by two re-advances or period of stagnation during Pleistocene/Holocene times. This was formulated on the basis of glacial deposits in the valleys and decline in the sub-glacial component. Koul and Ganjoo (2009), described the Quaternary Glacial History of Baspa Valley based on geomorphological evidences and multi-proxy analysis of palaeo lake profile and C14dating. They suggested two glacial advances followed by gradual three recessions after the second glacial advance.
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