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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Evans, D.J.A., Ewertowski, M., Jamieson, S.S.R. & Orton, C. Surficial geology and geomorphology of the Kumtor Gold Mine, Kyrgyzstan: human impacts on mountain glacier landsystems. Journal of Maps. 2016;12:757-769.

Author(s) from Durham


A 1:50,000 scale map of the surficial geology and geomorphology of the mountain glacier landsystem and the human impacts of the Kumtor Gold Mine operations in the Akshiirak massif was compiled from a 0.5 m resolution pan-sharpened image from Digital Globe's WorldView-2 platform dated 5 September 2014. The map depicts 11 surficial geology units, 6 of which are classified according to natural genetic origins and 5 relating to recent human interference with glaciological and land surface processes. When compared to historical imagery the map records a number of important, not unrelated, cryospheric responses to mining activity, including: (a) the triggering of human-induced glacier speed-up events or surges due to dumping of mine spoil on receding and thinning glacier snouts; (b) the reactivation by internal creep of buried glacier ice due to the expansion of spoil dumping onto down valley areas of ice-cored moraine; and (c) accelerated ice drawdown and significant incursions of ice into the mine pit walls due to the artificial removal of substantial areas of glacier ablation zones.

Department of Geography