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RE: Lake due to landslide in Hunza, Pakistan

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FWIW, I would suggest drawing down the downstream dam to absorb the flow from this naturally made lake.  The natural lake is definitely going to fail soon – random soil compaction, soil voids, no actual analysis on capacity….  What they are doing to start creating a way to let the water out is a good way to go.  When they build dams, they create the temporary side channels.  Maybe they could take that approach.  The dam downstream would have been designed probably on the 50-yr data, so the discharge capacity, reserve capacity, and the volume they want to keep in the lake would be considered.  Maybe the government could tell the Taliban that there are a bunch of infidels living there and they could send some suicide bombers to open up the waterway and finally be useful to the world.


Glenn C. Otto, P.E.

A Structural Engineer, P.C.

Virginia Beach, VA


"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' ... If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!"

--Samuel Adams


From: Syed Masroor [mailto:masroor(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, June 11, 2010 2:24 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Lake due to landslide in Hunza, Pakistan


 The bridges and other riverine structures in Pakistan are designed based on 50 year rainfall data. A free-board of 4ft is mandated on major bridges. The bursting of this dam will cause major damage to roads and bridges (as well as villages and towns) downstream of this dam.
The item of major concern is the huge Tarbela Dam about 400 miles downstream. This is one of the largest earth-filled dams in the world. If the discharge capacity of the dam is exceeded by this flood, it could lead to a catastrophe of major proportions. However I believe that the huge reserve capacity of this dam can absorb even unusual floods unless they occur in the peak glacier melting and rain season when it is quite full anyway.
This issue is perhaps more for a water engineer than us structurals, but if someone has an insight into this, sharing it may be very helpful. TIA
Syed A Masroor
Consulting Structural Engineers
Karachi, Pakistan

From: sshahid(--nospam--at)
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Lake due to landslide in Hunza, Pakistan
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2010 14:11:03 +0500

Five months ago, on January 4th, 2010 in the remote Hunza River Valley of northern Pakistan, a massive landslide buried the village of Attabad, destroying 26 homes, killing 20 people, and damming up the Hunza River.


The lake is now over 300 feet deep and had a storage of 2MAF and a bigger threat than the landslide itself.


The Spillway made in the lake is discharging at close to 5000 cusecs which is equal to the inflow and thus level of water is not falling.


Please share any previous experiences/solutions to such type of catastrophe.



Best regards,

Shiraz Shahid.