Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Ulrich Kamp

Commitee Members

Anna Klene, Scott Woods


geomorphology, GIS, glaciation, K2, Karakoram, mapping, Pakistan


University of Montana


Geomorphological mapping assists in evaluating the polygenetic role of glaciation, mass movement denudation, and fluvial erosion in landscape development. A series of thirteen 1:100,000 geomorphological maps covering the area between Skardu and K2 were produced using field mapping and photography, GPS measurements, ASTER satellite imagery, and digital elevation model (DEM) analyses. Satellite and morphometric analyses were performed using GIS software. The landforms are described in relation to geology, geomorphological processes, and altitudinal zones. Case studies include flash flood deposits, active landslide areas, sackungen, and rock avalanches. The Skardu Basin has tills preserved on many higher slopes, and sand dunes cover wide areas of fluvial sediments from a braided river system. Extensive alluvial and debris fans make up the Shigar Valley, and a sackung follows an anticline on its western ridge. In the narrow Braldu Valley between Dassu and Askole, many fans are deeply dissected, and extensive landsliding is common on the steep slopes. Strath terraces reveal former higher riverbeds and high fluvial erosion rates. Outburst flood deposits from temporary lakes that formed behind former landslides or moraines are located in several locations. Between Skardu and K2, tributary glaciers deposited lateral and terminal moraines. Thick debris covers most of the glaciers; Baltoro Glacier shows a rough topography with countless supraglacial and para-glacial lakes. Analysis of landform types helps to understand the dominance of individual geomorphological processes. Glacial, fluvial, and tectonic processes each play an important role in the relief production of the study area. This is the first complete geomorphological map series of the area and it provides important insight into the nature of topographic evolution in this region.



© Copyright 2008 Deborah Jeanne Belden