Features and Fluctuation of the Melang Glacier in the Mainri Mountain
ZHENG Benxing( Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology CAS, Lanzhou 730000) ZHAO Xitao;WANG Cunyu(Institute of Geology, CAS, Bijing 100029)LI Tiesong(Department of Geography , Sichuan Normal Collage, Nanchong 637002)
Located between the Nujiang River and the Lancang River, Mainri Mountain is famous and mysterious, whose main Peak, Mount Kawagarbo, is 6 740 m a.s.l., the highest peak in Yunnan Province. Melang Glacier, 11.7 km in length,on the eastern slope of the Mount Kawagarbo, is now the second longest glacier in the Hengduan Mountains. The glacier extends to about 2 660 m a.s.l., with an area of 13 km2. It is the lowest monsoon maritime glacier in the Hengduan Mountains. Its firn basin is 5 km long from north to south and 3 km wide from east to west. The equilibrium line on it varies from 4 800 to 5 200 m a.s.l. In the middle of the firn basin, there is a beautiful lake, some 50 m in diameter. Crossing the mouth of the firn basin, ice flows downwards,through two large ice-fall, near 1000 m in height,and a few wide and plane stages, finally extends into the region of dense primeval forest Meltwater suplies the Lancang River.In 1902 a British mountaineering team failed in climbing the mount. Afterwards other 4 teams from America, Japan and China also suffered the same failure. The last one was the Sino-Japan Joint Mountaineering Team, whose members were killed at Camp 3 (5 300 m a.s.l.) by a large avalanche, on 3rd January,1991. Their bodies were found under the first ice-fall (about 4 000 m a.s.l.) on 18 July, 1998. The moving distance is about 4 km, equivalent to an annual velocity of 533 m. The flow velocity is the maximum among all glaciers in the Hengduan Mountains.The Melang Glacier has been advancing since 1959. It advanced 730~930 m from 1959 to 1971, 70 m from 1971 to 1982 and 280 m from 1982 to 1998.The reason is a favour of temperature and precipitation.