Talk:Glacial lake outburst flood

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I'll try and find some images for this and work on cleanup over the next few days.--MONGO 12:08, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Beding, Rolwaling [edit]

I've seen a bbcamerica report that some people in "Beding", "Rolwaling", have been forced to move by flood, likely global warming; but, they do not have the money, other resources, to go to locations that they feel would be sufficiently safe.

Thank You,

[[ hopiakuta Please do sign your signature on your message. ~~ Thank You. -]] 14:10, 5 December 2007 (UTC)


To be found under the Nepal/Thulagi-glacier section - what's that supposed to be? --KapHorn (talk) 09:34, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Oops - got it. Isn't it a bit bewildering, using a german abbreviation in the english Wikipedia without explanation? —Preceding unsigned comment added by KapHorn (talkcontribs) 09:53, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Merger discussion[edit]

User:Deskford proposed we merge Glacial lake outburst flood and Jökulhlaup be merged. Please leave your comments at Talk:Glacial lake outburst flood.

  • Support - I'd considered this previously and deferred adding the merger tag until I could pull some resources and research to determine whether there is a significant difference. Finding none, I support merger. That said, we need to improve both articles. References for that purpose follow. Note particularly the 4th reference, which includes the term "Jökulhlaup" in the title and discusses the glacial lake outburst flood at Russel. B.C. that is the example in the glacial lake outburst flood article. I'll let it sit a few days and then work to merge the texts if no one objects. Williamborg (Bill) 04:47, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
References - [1][2][3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] Cite error: The <ref> tag has too many names (see the help page).

[14] [15] Cite error: The <ref> tag has too many names (see the help page). [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

  • Do not support. A jökulhlaup is a sufficiently well defined, and sufficiently distinctive, volcanic phenomenon as to justify its own article, that (when mature, which I agree the current article is not) develops the volcanic part of the phenomenon as completely as the hydrological part. Let the present article concentrate on the hydrology, which can come about for lots of different reasons. There's no reason why that article can't then be referenced in this one. -- Bill-on-the-Hill (talk) 04:32, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
My apologies; I did not make it clear why I added the references. They represent peer-reviewed geologic journal articles which use the term Jökulhlaup in a broader sense. Jökulhlaup is commonly used in the literature for glacial lake outburst floods, irrespective of the origin for the water. Let me point to some specific articles which use the term more broadly than you'd propose (with references linked):
  • Russell refers to release from proglacial lakes as jökulhlaups in an article on "sedimentology of an ice-contact jökulhlaup-dominated delta, Kangerlussuaq, west Greenland".[6]
  • Oswald discusses a "Jökulhlaup burst from an ice-dammed lake at the head of the glacier" in the Wind River Mountains, Wyoming.[7]
  • Donnelly discusses "sudden regional subglacial outburst (jökulhlaup)" from accumulated nonvolcanic melt water.[27]
  • Fard discusses evidence of a Preboreal jökulhlaup in the Stockholm area, Sweden. The source of water is unclear, but for the most recent glaciation, there is no evidence that it was volcanic.[8]
  • Kochel discusses a "Catastrophic middle Pleistocene jökulhlaups in the upper Susquehanna River", which describes the source to "created by ice-damming and jökulhlaups emanating from high gradient mountain watersheds".[11]
  • Le Heron uses the term jökulhlaups for describe massive floods under ice sheets creating tunnel valleys in North Africa and the Middle East.[17]
  • Clague discusses the Missoula Floods - a series of large proglacial lake floods from breaking of the ice dam in the Purcell Lobe - referring to them as jökulhlaups.[28]
  • And even the excellent photos in the Glacial lake outburst flood article are from an event which is labeled jökulhlaup in at least one article.[4]
Based on review of the literature I believe that "jökulhlaup" is more commonly used in the literature for a glacial lake outburst flood than the term "glacial lake outburst flood", although I've yet to perform a detailed review. But if the "glacial lake outburst flood" article survives, I'd think it would be a supporting article to the "jökulhlaup" article.
Since you work at at the premier U.S. national lab, I presume you have access to electronic journals (just link on the DOI); if not I can email you copies.
If you still have reservations, I'd ask that you cite published literature that supports your interpretation that a jökulhlaup is limited to volcanic phenomenon.
Skål - Williamborg (Bill) 18:25, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, just to add to the confusion, there are two articles in the highly authoritative "Encyclopedia of Volcanoes" (Haraldur Sigurdsson, chief editor; ISBN 0-12-643140-X) that give considerably different definitions of the term Jökulhlaup. The article on "Subglacial Eruptions" by Smellie (what a name for a volcanologist!) calls it a "Glacier outburst flood often, but not always, related to eruptions," which argues in favor of the merger --- albeit with the one important distinction that a "glacier outburst" is by no means the same thing as a glacial lake outburst. (Remember that volcanic Jökulhlaups need not, indeed usually do not, come out of a lake that existed before the eruption; the "lake" in this case is meltwater caused by the eruption itself.) The article "The Hazard from Lahars and Jökulhlaups" by Rodolfo calls it "An Icelandic term that refers without distinction to both water floods and lahars that are generated when a volcano erupts under a glacier." (I work in risk analysis, and may have been remembering this one preferentially over the other.)
And there it sits. If the pros can't agree on terminology, how are we Wikipedians ever going to? I suppose the "best" thing is to do what helps the user most -- but I'm not even sure what that is any more. -- Bill-on-the-Hill (talk) 05:55, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Support Given that no one disputes that the terms are closely related and that the exact meanings are disputed by experts according to a reliable source, it is only sensible to discuss this broad topic in one article with a comment on the various and sometimes contradictory definitions for the terms that may be found in the literature. Walter Siegmund (talk) 18:12, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I changed my position from Support to Do not support and deleted the merger tags from both articles based on the fact that both terms are used in ways that overlap, but that each has a unique application in the refereed literature, as follows:

  • Glacial lake outburst flood is used uniquely for floods induced by failed moraines - there is no evidence in the literature that Jökulhlaup is so used.
  • Jökulhlaup is used for subglacial water releases in the interface between the ice and the bedrock - there is no evidence in the literature that Glacial lake outburst flood is so used.

Some refinement of the articles is warranted.

Skål - Williamborg (Bill) 00:15, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. I think that's the right position, and the right outcome. -- Bill-on-the-Hill (talk) 13:57, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Should rethink a merger. Possibly under the title 'glacial outburst flood' (aka 'GOF', this term does appear in the literature) or simply as 'glacial flood.' If back at the decision not to merge, the respective articles described distinct phenomena, they no longer do so now:

  • GLOF article: 'A GLOF is a type of outburst flood that occurs when the dam containing a glacial lake fails'
  • jökulhlaup article: 'A jökulhlaup is a glacial outburst flood' from either a 'subglacial or proglacial lake/reservoir'.

But if you click on Proglacial lake, it refers to GLOF. Meanwhile we also have: 'When a sub-glacial lake bursts, it may be called a jökulhlaup.' Uh OK...

Is GLOF supposed to refer just to surface lakes? Then why are ancient Laurentide surface lakes mentioned in the jökulhlaup article, not in the GLOF article? Williamborg's claim that GLOFs are only moraine failures is contradicted in GLOF and doesn't match the literature, see e.g. [29]. It seems that terminology depends mostly on field. So 'GLOF' is used by public policy types especially dealing with the Himalayas or the Alps, while 'jökulhlaup' or 'glacial outburst' is used by more pure geology types. I would advise merging these articles into one, where a distinction, if any absolute one exists, can be explained. --Formivore (talk) 06:24, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Agree rethink: The other article says "jökulhlaup is a glacial outburst flood. It is an Icelandic term that has been adopted by the English language". This is rubbish! I can't find it in any ordinary English dictionary. It is a term used in English only by highly specialist experts, and is quite unsuitable for Wikipedia. We should try and remember that this is supposed to be an encyclopaedia, not a playground for the display of élitist pedantry (sic). Deipnosophista (talk) 09:37, 3 April 2013 (UTC)


Younger Dryas outburst flood path from Lake Agassiz to the Arctic Ocean[edit]

These is an important related arcticle in this weeks journel, Nature, which we need to incorporate. I'll note it here as a placeholder until I can get back to it (busy these days); if someone else has the time to incorporate it before I come back, that would be great.

See: Murton, Julian B.; Mark D. Bateman, Scott R. Dallimore, James T. Teller & Zhirong Yang; Dallimore, Scott R.; Teller, James T.; Yang, Zhirong (1 April 2010). "Identification of Younger Dryas outburst flood path from Lake Agassiz to the Arctic Ocean". Nature 464 (7289): 740–743. doi:10.1038/nature08954. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 

Skål - Williamborg (Bill) 15:22, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Glen Roy, Scotland, UK[edit]

Should this page be linked in a UK section ? Not sure how to merge with existing England/France one. Maybe Scotland should have its own section ? The Parallel Roads would seem to be evidence of several GLOFs, albeit pre-historic.-- (talk) 10:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Inconsistency in Examples section Iceland subsection[edit]

In one place you get the following information.

"...This was the case in 1996, when the volcano under the Grímsvötn lakes belonging to the Vatnajökull glacier erupted, and the river Skeiðará flooded the land in front of Skaftafell National Park. The jökulhlaup reached a flow rate of 45,000m3 cubic meters per second(1), and destroyed parts of the Hringvegur (Ring Road or Iceland Road #1). ..."

And then in the same subsection next paragraph.

After the flooding, some icebergs 10 metres 10 metres (33 ft) high could be seen on the banks of the river where the glacier run had left them behind (see also Mýrdalsjökull). The peak water release from a lake that develops around the Grímsvötn Volcanic Crater in the center of the Vatnajökull ice cap generates flows that exceed the volume of the Mississippi River. The outbursts have occurred in 1954, 1960, 1965, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1991 and 1996. In 1996, the eruption melted 3 cubic kilometres (0.72 cu mi) of ice and yielded an outburst of 6,000 cubic metres (7,800 cu yd) per second at peak flow.

Reading this section of the article as it is written there it seems obvious that the flood that is mentioned in the second paragraph is the same flood that is mentioned in the first paragraph so therefore the information regarding the flood size is inconsistent and if I'm reading this right the second set of numbers are totally wrong.

I know that the flood peaked at night, 5th november 1996. The flood size was estimated at least 45.000 cubic metres per second possibly larger (photo showing the glacial flood/jökulflóð coming out of Vatnajökull) at the time this photo is taken the flood is "only" about 30.000m3 meters. In the aftermath ice chunks similar to this were not an uncommon sight.

This is the first time I login and join the wiki community I'm not sure if I'm doing right or wrong here but I am pointing out the inconsistency in numbers. Also there are the photos I'm not sure about the copyright status of those but if they can be used they show how devastating such a flood can be.

Sghice (talk) 15:36, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Merger discussion, round 2[edit]

The relationship of the Jökulhlaup and Glacial lake outburst flood articles is highly confusing. The second line of this article's lead states "also called by its Icelandic name, Jökulhlaup", while Jökulhlaup's lead sentence is "A jökulhlaup is a glacial outburst flood". Glacial outburst flood is currently a redlink. I know nothing about this topic except that I couldn't discern if and how the two terms differed by reading the article leads.

If they are synonyms, they should be merged. If they are not synonyms, Glacial lake outburst flood shouldn't state that they are. If Jökulhlaup actually means Glacial outburst flood, then I would suggest moving it to that title, or at least creating appropriate redirects and clearly stating that Glacial lake outburst flood is a subarticle to Jökulhlaup/Glacial outburst flood. Thanks, BanyanTree 19:29, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose I agree with the conclusions of the previous merger discussion for these two articles. Terms have enough differences, they need different articles. The confusing language should be clarified. — Lentower (talk) 20:05, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose jökulhlaup refers to a body of water under an ice cap springing a leak. Whereas this one is a lake draining —— different. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 00:25, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose A jökulhlaup and a glacial lake outburst flood are not the same thing. Glacial lake outburst floods occur when a dam containing a glacial lake fails as stated in the article. Jökulhlaups are outburst floods as a result of melting glacial ice from geothermal heating or subglacial volcanic activity. Volcanoguy 19:50, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
On a second thought, it seems like moving the jökulhlaup article to glacial outburst flood would also be a wrong thing to do. As far as I understand, a jökulhlaup is a form of glacial outburst flood since the later would also include glacial lake outburst floods. Thus it would probably be best to create an article for glacial outburst flood instead, describing jökulhlaups, glacial lake outburst floods and other phenomena if more exist. Volcanoguy 23:43, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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