New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The devastating floods in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Sunday claimed the lives of 18 people while over 200 went missing, bringing back the tragic memories of 2013 Kedarnath incident.

While NDRF, Army, ITBP and Air Force personnel are busy carrying out rescue operations in the affected areas, several teams of experts and researchers have arrived at Chamoli to find out the cause of the massive floods in the Himalayan state.

Experts and researchers are divided on what caused the massive floods in Uttarakhand as some blame glacial lake outburst while others feel that the rapid climate change or an avalanche was the reason behind the Chamoli incident.

"An avalanche is quite common, and there could have been one, but an avalanche on its own would not result in an increase in the flow of water in the river. The water has to come from a source, and as of now, we do not know what this source is," Indian Express quoted glaciologist HC Nainwal as saying.

While several experts have blamed glacial lake outburst, many researchers have raised questions over the theory as feel that a glacier break off in February -- when the temperature is below zero degrees Celsius in Himalayan regions -- is very unlikely.

They suggest that floods like this are caused by avalanches or landslides as "glaciers remain firmly frozen" in winters. However, a possibility of it cannot be ruled out due to rapid climate change, they suggest.

"It's a very rare incident for a glacial burst to happen. Satellite and Google Earth images do not show a glacial lake near the region, but there's a possibility that there may be a water pocket in the region," IIT-Indore Professor Dr Mohammed Farooq Azam was quoted by NDTV as saying.

While experts are still wondering what caused the massive floods in Uttarakhand on Sunday, the government has said that it is conducting an aerial survey of the glacier in Chamoli to find out the true cause if the outburst.

"In the valley, it formed a lake which burst later and caused the damage. The data is being analysed by our scientists in detail and if required, they would again go to get more details," DRDO's Dr LK Sinha said while speaking to news agency ANI.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma