This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Friday, December 17, 2010

Followup on Pakistan floods

The  floods in Southern Pakistan before (left) last summers major flooding, during it (middle) and this month (right).
Photo collage originally from Modis instrument on NASA's Terra satellite.  This collage from Geology.com.
The NASA image of the September frame, with sites labeled for reference.
When I was first starting this blog, a crisis was developing near the border with China at Attabad, with the potential failure of a landslide dam (here's one blog that I wrote).  These floods that caused the crisis at Attabad moved like a wave from north to south, culminating with flooding near the delta at the bottom of the images (original, higher-quality images are available here). In these images, water ranges in color from light blue to navy; vegetation is bright green--even if it is sparse.  Bare land is beige to red. Clouds are pale green.  Here's another update as of 12/09/10.

The caption released with the images points out several places affected by the floods.  Around Sukkur on the inland side, an irrigation network had supported agriculture.  Floodwaters overwhelmed a dam north of here, creating a flood that inundated this area and dumped water into the preexisting Manchhar Lake.  There is no outlet for this lake, and so the flood waters have sat on the agricultural land for months. Even though the size of the lake has diminished during the autumn months, it is still larger than prior to the 2010 floods (compare the left and right images). Around the coast at Thatta, there is also evidence for lingering damage, with pockets of water remaining in areas which were dry in 2009. Such areas, if stagnant for long, become foci for disease.

The floods themselves were a disaster. The lingering effects such as the drowning of agricultural lands, disease, and dislocation of people from the flooded area are referred to as the "disaster within the disaster". We see how all of these can contribute to political instability in the events that are evolving in Haiti in the wake of the major earthquake there this year.

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