Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Kenneth Hewitt

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Second Advisor

C. Grant Head

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Third Advisor

Gordon J. Young

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member


Runoff from the Upper Indus Basin depends upon snowfall at high elevations in the northern mountains of Pakistan. However, very little is known concerning the amount of snowfall in the major source area, the high Karakoram, or its spatial and temporal distribution. Glaciers contain well preserved records of snow accumulation and provide a unique tool for retrieving data. A number of studies on temperate and tropical glaciers indicate that variations in chemical content and microparticle concentrations delineates seasonal stratigraphy. In addition, the chemical record of the snowpack can usually be used to determine the source of precipitation. Field work in the Central Karakoram during the summer of 1986 consisted of a physical analysis of and sample collection from seven snowpits, one snow/firn core and seven fresh snowfall events. Snowmelt samples have been analysed for ion concentrations (including Na, Cl, NO2, NO3, PO4 & SO4) and oxygen isotope ratios. A limited number of samples were analysed for microparticle concentrations, conductivity and total beta activity. Seasonal trend can be delineated for all of the snowpits and the upper 12.2 m of the snow/firn core from an analysis of the time-series profiles (Figures 5.1, 5.2 & 5.3). The net annual accumulation (Table 6.1 A & B) provides the basis for interpretation of the spatial and temporal variation in snow accumulation in the Karakoram. Glaciochemical dating techniques are seen as an effective and efficient technique to determine net annual accumulation in high altitude alpine environments. Sampling over a range of geographic locations and elevations provides valuable information concerning the altitudinal and lateral variation in snow accumulation.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Meteorology Commons