Rock falls, lake outbursts and mudflows in the Pamir mountains:
Gravitational mass movements such as rock falls, glacial lake outburst floods and mudflows occur in all high-mountain areas and can have catastrophic effects. The causes of this are explained using examples from the Pamir, particularly serious events and the challenges of risk management are discussed. The largest natural reservoir in the world, Lake Sarez in the Pamir, was created by a landslide in 1911. The 1949 Khait disaster claimed thousands of lives and many villages were simultaneously buried by mudflows, triggered by earthquakes. Permafrost, which is omnipresent in the higher heights of the Pamir, is increasingly thawing, and lakes form in front of or on the receding glacier tongues. The Dasht disaster of 2002 is an example of a glacial lake outburst; it is also documented here. Every major earthquake can cause violent rock falls and lake outbursts at any time. Smaller mudflows and rockfalls are daily events. Civil protection is in urgent need of expansion.