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AUC GEOGRAPHICA, Vol 59 No 1 (2024), 77–92

Hazards profile of the Shigar Valley, Central Karakoram, Pakistan: Multicriteria hazard susceptibility assessment

Munazza Afreen, Fazlul Haq, Bryan G. Mark

published online: 22. 05. 2024


The rapid deglaciation in the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) significantly impacts local landscapes, watersheds, and basin-wide hydrology. While creating new opportunities, such as emerging landscapes and hydrological changes, deglaciation simultaneously heightens the risk of glacio-hydrological hazards in adjacent and downstream regions. With limited available land for agriculture and settlements, communities around glaciers expand human activities toward newly formed floodplains and deglaciating valleys, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of associated risks and vulnerabilities. This study employs Geographical Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing products for a multicriteria hazards susceptibility assessment in the Shigar Valley, located in the downstream of major Himalayan glaciers – the Baltoro (63 km) and Biafo (67 km) glaciers. The research reveals that 28.3% of the valley is highly susceptible to multiple hazards, emphasizing the urgency of informed decision-making in the region. Only 0.03% area lies in the very low susceptible category, 9.7% in the low susceptible, 60.6% in the moderately susceptible, and 1.04% in the very highly susceptible categories. These findings highlight the need for proactive measures, adaptive strategies, and sustainable development in the Shigar Valley to mitigate the escalating risks posed by deglaciation and changing hydrological patterns.

keywords: glacial hazards; landslides; snow avalanches; floods; multi-hazards; hazard susceptibility

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