24×7 warm water discovered at Siachen Glacier by Dr Arya

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24×7 warm water supply at Siachen Glacier

24X7 supply of warm water, and that too at Siachen Glacier? Sounds incredible, but it is true! Dr Ritesh Arya, world renowned geologist who holds the Guinness World Record for drilling a bore well in the high-altitude cold mountain desert of Ladakh, has now discovered the first geothermal source of warm water at Siachen Glacier base camp.

The source is very much active and the warm water has been sucked out after digging a bore well. Billed as one of the most significant discoveries in the field of geothermal exploration and development in Indian sub-continent, the source will help the Central Government save crores of rupees spent every year on ferrying fossil fuels to the icy part of the globe to enable the troops to melt snow to meet their needs. “It will be a boon for the Indian troops stationed at Siachen. They would now be able to get 24-hour supply of warm water which can be used for cooking, bathing, laundry, washing utensils, space-heating and raising plantations by using green house culture, but not for drinking. Scientists can do research to make it potable. It will help save a lot of fossil fuel, minimize pollution and save the glacier from environmental hazards”, Dr Ritesh Arya told Daily Post in an exclusive interview at his residence in Panchkula, on Wednesday.

The famed geologist had been asked by the Army last year to explore and develop geothermal source at Siachen Base Camp for the troops. Credited with the stunning discovery of potable water systems in Ladakh, Dr Arya said, “I discovered the geothermal source in October, 2011 but wanted to test its capacity during the months of winter. I visited the place on April 18 along with men of the Engineering Corps to conduct the test and the results are encouraging: warm water oozing out of the well even when the temperature outside is sub-zero”, he said. The temperature (15 degree C) at the source is not very high. With the help of further geo-scientific investigation and deeper drilling, it may be possible to get water bearing higher temperature. It may also help locate more such geothermal sources in the remote areas of the Himalayas.

 

A decade ago, Dr Arya had dug bore wells for potable water in the high altitude cold mountain desert of Ladakh, not only for Indian troops but also for the locals. The bore wells, drilled by him with the help of Engineers Corps of the Indian Army, have been serving as lifeline since 2000, providing 24-hour water supply even in winter (-40 degree C) to the troops as well as to the locals. These are still operational. “A good geothermal energy source has three basic requirements: a high thermal gradient — which means accessible hot rock — plus a rechargeable reservoir fluid, usually water, and finally, deep permeable pathways for the fluid to circulate through the hot rock. Though this initial discovery met the last two parameters the thermal gradient was not very high. But with more investigations and deeper drilling the initial parameter had also been met”, Dr Arya disclosed. Dr Arya suggests that efforts should be made by India and Pakistan to de-militarize the glacier.

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