A Unique Red Colored Glacial Lake in Ladakh, Northwestern Himalaya, Observed from Space

A unique Red colored glacial lake has been identified in the Ladakh, Northwest Himalaya ( 34.004664 degree 'N, 76.721581degree E, at an altitude of 5060 m asl) in about 30 km southwest of Lamayuru - ‘moon land of Ladakh’, Leh. This lake is dominantly fed by the meltwater from its northeasterly facing mother glacier. The morphometry analysis shows that the lake covers an area of about 0.19 sq km, the perimeter of about 1.19 km, length of about 700 m and width of about 300 m. The orientation of the lake is north-east and the slope between the mother glacier and the Red Lake is about 20 degree. The analysis of the time series images of the Red/Brown Lake (Red lake henceforth) indicates that the size and the color of the lake have not changed over the years. The water body of the lake remains frozen tentatively from November to April. A spectral analysis of the Red Glacial Lake water as compared to a typical blue glacial lake water using Sentinel -2 images of dates 15th August 2020, 25th August 2020 and 30th August 2020 revealed remarkable difference in the spectral response of the water of the Red Lake. The peak reflectance of the spectrum of Red Lake occur at 660-700 nm (0.66-0.7micrometer) wavelength range, compared to peak of the blue water lake at 0.49-0.55 micrometer. This marked difference gives this lake a unique red/brown color over the years.

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