The Siachen Glacier is situated within the eastern Karakoram range. The glacier itself has a height of more than 5400m and a length of more than 7600m making it the longest in the Karakoram range. It is considered to be the second largest, amid the world’s non-polar locations.
Here are some facts about Siachen Glacier that are very interesting:
- The Siachen Glacier is named from two Balti lanaguage words. These words are “Sia” which stands for a rose plant that is found in the region and the word “Chun.” Chun means an object or item that is available in abundance. The name of Siachen is supposed to note a land that is abundant in roses. The glacier was given its name by a man named Tom Longstaff.
- The total area covered by the Siachen glacial system is approximately 700km².
- Temperatures over the glacier can reach as low as 50°C.
- The Siachen Glacier has been an area of dispute between both Pakistan and India. Each country claims control over this glacier region and this has been going on for a very long time. Both countries have been sending military forces to this area since 1984.
- This area still remains unpopulated and the only presence in Siachen is military forces from India and Pakistan.
- Due to the military presence from Pakistan and India it is known as the highest battlefield on earth.
- The waters that come from the melting of the Siachen Glacier are responsible for being the main source that feeds the Indus River. The Nubra River is located in the Indian region of Ladakh. The Nubra River drains directly into the Shyok River. The Shyok River in turn connects to the Indus River, which is 3,000 kilometers long, and which flows through Pakistan. This glacier helps to feed the largest irrigation system in the world.
- There are existing environment issues within the Siachen Glacier. It was undisturbed by humans until 1984, when the military forces of both Pakistan and India occupied the area. It caused melting of the glacier and the presence of pollution, which has strongly affected the ecosystem there.
- The Siachen Glacier is going through a glacier retreat. According to a survey that was conducted by the Pakistan Meteorological Department in 2007, Siachen has been steadily retreating the last 30 years, and it is gradually melting away at a very alarming rate. A reason for this recent glacier retreat is obvious, and that is due to, chemical blasting that is performed to construct camps and posts for the military forces.
- The temperature at Siachen is estimated to be rising at an average of 0.2°C per year.
The Siachen Glacier is a natural wonder to behold, but it is gradually being lost, as the days go by. It is not a place for mankind to encroach upon. Because of the existing dispute between India and Pakistan, the whole ecosystem and future of Siachen is in jeopardy. If steps aren’t taken to conserve it, this gigantic piece of ice will melt away.