Kenneth Hewitt

Kenneth Hewitt
Wilfrid Laurier University | WLU · Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

About

165
Publications
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10,778
Citations
Citations since 2016
17 Research Items
4681 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
Introduction
Kenneth Hewitt is professor emeritus in Geography and Environmental Studies, and research associate in the Cold Regions Research Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University. His academic career included tenured professorships at the University of Toronto, and Rutgers University, New Jersey. His main teaching, research and consulting fields are in geomorphology and high mountain environments; in environmental disasters, and peace research.He has regional specialisations in mountain environments worldwide but mainly the Karakoram Himalaya, Inner Asia, having spent 17 field seasons there. He has published and lectured extensively on these topics. Landform interest are in glaciers, glacial hydrology and surge-type glaciers; catastrophic landslides, GLOFs.

Publications

Publications (165)
Article
The Karakoram has a large concentration of surge-type glaciers, including 69 tributary glaciers, compared to 152 surge-type main or trunk glaciers. The paper addresses the interactions between tributary and trunk glaciers using digital elevation models (DEMs), surface displacement, field and archival reports. In particular, it explores the behavior...
Chapter
This chapter looks mainly at massive rock slope failures that generate high-speed, long-runout rock avalanches onto glaciers in high mountains and from sub-polar through tropical latitudes. Drastic modifications to mountain landscapes and destructive impacts occur, and initiate other, longer-term hazards. Worst-case calamities are where mass flows...
Article
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Free access to the full-text between 17 Feb. and 3 Mar. 2021, Thanks NREE for this promotion. A read-only version for those without a subscription: https://rdcu.be/ceDKY _______ Glaciers in the Himalaya-Karakoram mountain ranges harbour approximately half of the ice volume in High- mountain Asia and modulate the flow of freshwater to almost 869 mi...
Article
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In 2017–2019 a surge of Shispare Glacier, a former tributary of the once larger Hasanabad Glacier (Hunza region), dammed the proglacial river of Muchuhar Glacier, which formed an ice-dammed lake and generated a small Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF). Surge movement produced the highest recorded Karakoram glacier surface flow rate using feature tr...
Presentation
Full-text available
Large-scale rockslides damming river valleys and producing millions and billions of tons of fines play an important, sometimes critical role in river valley evolution in mountainous regions. River damming associated with valley inundation and siltation upstream and in powerful outburst floods and aggradation downstream can disturb fluvial processes...
Article
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The paper concerns ice dams and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in the Karakoram. Some 146 events are identified, including 30 major disasters. Large downstream populations and major infrastructure are threatened. Risk factors differ from recent reports of other Himalayan GLOFs associated with glacier recession and global warming. Ice dams are...
Article
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The discharge of one of the world’s largest river - Indus River was reported to be increasing that was not supported by the Karakoram (KK) glacier expansion. A major hydrometric bias was ignored, which seemed similar to the montage that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear. This study proposed a framework for quantifying the bias resulting from i...
Article
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Glaciers in the Karakoram exhibit irregular behavior. Terminus fluctuations of individual glaciers lack consistency and, unlike other parts of the Himalaya, total ice mass remained stable or slightly increased since the 1970s. These seeming anomalies are addressed through a comprehensive mapping of surgetype glaciers and surge-related impacts, base...
Chapter
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This chapter introduces disaster risk reduction (DRR) with an emphasis on the socio-economic sources of human exposure and vulnerability to environmental hazards, the institutional nature of responses, and why DRR is, or should be, aligned with precautionary, prudential, and preventive fields. Internationally, such views have been promoted through...
Article
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Matthias Kuhle, an internationally renowned physical geographer and highly respected geomorphologist, died tragically on the 25th of April, 2015. He was in the Manaslu Himalaya, close to the epicentre of April 2015 Nepal earthquake at Magnitude 7.8, and was fatally injured.
Article
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The Nanga Parbat-Haramosh massif (NPHM)forms the northern extension of the geotectonic region of the NW Himalayan syntaxis, with exceptionally rugged terrain, high relief, and steep rock walls the dominant landform. More than 130 large landslides have been identified in the NPHM involving massive rock slope failures and rock avalanches. Most termin...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on the glaciers themselves, ice morphology and distribution and relations to terrain in their basins. To identify the relative extent of zones with particular conditions, criteria are outlined to define terrain elements on and off the ice. Estimates are given of their share of basin areas for the 42 largest glaciers and provide...
Chapter
The two parts of mass balance, inputs and outputs, are now considered together. Budget estimates are provided for Biafo Glacier and from partial data for Batura, Baltoro and some others. Overall quantities reflect the greater moisture availability and mass inputs at high elevations in the Karakoram. From glacier basins of the Central Karakoram, the...
Chapter
Countless small and many larger lakes exist in Karakoram glacier basins. The region has a long history of outburst floods from them. Impoundments may be on the glacier, beside, in front of and even beneath the ice. The actual dams may be formed of ice, moraines or a combination of the two. Smaller glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) seem to occur...
Chapter
Full-text available
Rock glaciers are ice-cored lobes or tongues of coarse, angular debris that form below steep rock walls and move slowly across or down valleys. Typically they are associated with glaciated mountain terrain and are transitional forms between glacial and periglacial process regimes. Largely neglected in work on the Karakoram, they are present in grea...
Chapter
The distribution of perennial snow and ice in the Karakoram Himalaya is examined and its area–altitude relations. The presence and extent of snow and ice are shown to depend upon, and be positively correlated with, interfluve heights. The elevations and extent of the highest altitude terrain are of decisive significance. The size, length and lowest...
Chapter
The geomorphology of Karakoram glacier basins involves high mountain terrain and surface processes responding to exceptional gravitational forces. Relations between high elevations, steepness, great relief, strong seasonal variations and their vertical migration help to organise the landscape. There are distinct sets of landforms in different eleva...
Chapter
The Karakoram Himalaya comprises the highest, most heavily glacierised watersheds of the upper Indus and Yarkand River basins. It is set within other vast mountain systems of High Asia that support more than 100,000 km2 of perennial snow and ice cover. The chapter situates the Karakoram in this Central Asian context and outlines key aspects of the...
Chapter
The negative or loss factors in mass balance are examined, mainly processes, controls and rates of ablation on glacier surfaces and some other contributors to water yields from glacier basins. Limited but actual ablation measurements exist for three of the large glaciers, Baltoro, Biafo and Batura. They are described and interpreted in relation to...
Chapter
Full-text available
The chapter looks mainly at massive rock slope failures that generate high-speed, long-runout rock avalanches onto glaciers in high mountains, from subpolar through tropical latitudes. Drastic modifications of mountain landscapes and destructive impacts occur, and initiate other, longer-term hazards. Worst-case calamities are where mass flows conti...
Chapter
In high mountain environments glacial and landslide hazards can be causally interdependent. They help prepare, trigger, transform or constrain each other, and related geohazards. Interactions between massive rock slope failures (MRSFs) and glaciers are examined, with examples from the Greater Karakoram Himalaya region. The MRSFs of interest generat...
Chapter
The inputs to glacier mass balance and phenomena that influence them in the Karakoram are considered in this chapter. Snowfall in the source areas of the glaciers is the first concern. Observations at Biafo Glacier, an Alpine type, offer a rare, relatively detailed quantification of high-altitude snowfall in the accumulation zone. The data show tha...
Chapter
This chapter examines the processes that regulate glacier behaviour and how ice masses respond to environmental conditions. Glacier movement is considered and some distinctive features in larger Karakoram glaciers. Rates of movement along main ice streams are typically between 150 and 300 m annually but may be over 1,000 m on large icefalls. Among...
Chapter
This chapter looks at fluctuations in Karakoram glaciers, mainly in the last 200 years, their consequences and implications for future responses to climate change. Most of the evidence available concerns terminus changes. Improvements in satellite coverage and analytical techniques have increased the range and quality of information but results can...
Chapter
The following three main concerns are addressed: (1) mountain peoples closely involved with glaciers, (2) down-country relations in Pakistan, China, India and Afghanistan, especially for water resources and risks, and (3) trans-boundary questions. In the latter, glacierised areas are involved in resource and geostrategic agendas, cultural and relig...
Chapter
The Karakoram is one of a relatively few mountain regions with high numbers of surge-type glaciers, subject to sudden, short-lived accelerations that transfer large volumes of ice down glacier. Some 55 surges have been identified since the 1860s involving 46 glaciers. Various studies suggest many more are surge type, perhaps one-third of Karakoram...
Article
Full-text available
The largest glacier impoundments in the Karakoram Himalaya are by ice dams formed where tributary glaciers block main rivers. These can cause outburst floods that spread destruction far through the mountains and into the lowlands. More than 90 out-bursts from impoundments behind such dams have been identified. Of the largest and most destructive, 1...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The South West Central Asian mountains contain many concentraLons of rock glaciers (RG). In the trans-Himalayan upper Indus basin, the focus of this study, RG numbers probably exceed 20,000. Very few accounts of them exist.(1) Here, RG classes and dimensions are reviewed, their distribuLon, and related controls. Lack of monitoring and invesLgaLons...
Article
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The transHimalayan upper Indus Basin contains thousands of rock glaciers. An exceptional diversity of forms and sizes exist, hitherto largely unresearched. They are in a well-defined elevation band across the mountains, usually less than 1400 m vertically, although total relief exceeds 7000 m. The zone varies from north to south, west to east, and...
Article
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The relations of development and disaster offer a starting point for an overview of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in African contexts. A social vulnerability approach is adopted with its goal of improving conditions for persons and places most at risk. However, this approach faces serious contradictions in both the disasters and development scenes....
Article
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HEWITT K., «The Great Lateral Moraine», Karakoram Himalaya, Inner Asia. (IT ISSN 0391-9838, 2013). Large moraines and related ice margin deposits, observed along the ablation zones of Karakoram glaciers, have been grouped together as the Great Lateral Moraine (GLM). It was formerly attributed to the Little Ice Age. Other studies propose a longer se...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Abstract The paper looks at six catastrophic rockslides in the upper Indus Basin with original volumes between 5 and 45 km3. They have distinctive morphologies and composition related to run out constrained and blocked by rugged terrain. All include long run-out debris lobes, but most of their mass remained as deep-seated, rotational or compound mo...
Article
The Nanga Parbat–Haramosh Massif has some of the greatest relief on Earth and highest measured rates of uplift, denudation, and river incision in bedrock. Many studies have sought to understand how its morphology relates to geotectonic evolution and glaciations. However, few catastrophic rock slope failures had been recognised and many of their imp...
Article
Full-text available
The paper examines relations between natural hazards and social conditions in disaster, and problems of their integration in disaster management. This must be done against a background of ever-increasing numbers of disasters. The initiating roles and impacts of environmental hazards are acknowledged. However, expanding losses are not explained by i...
Article
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This chapter presents a view of risk and disaster in the mountains that finds them fully a part of public safety issues in modern states and developments, rather than separated from them. This contrasts with prevailing approaches to disaster focused on natural hazards, “unscheduled” or extreme events, and emergency preparedness; approaches strongly...
Article
Full-text available
This chapter presents a view of risk and disaster in the mountains that finds them fully a part of public safety issues in modern states and developments, rather than separated from them. This contrasts with prevailing approaches to disaster focused on natural hazards, “unscheduled” or extreme events, and emergency preparedness; approaches strongly...
Chapter
The paper looks at local experience and concerns in environmental disasters in the upper Indus Basin, widely thought to become more serious due to climate change. Emphasis is on the lives and livelihoods, responses, and concerns of those most affected. Several events and their contexts are examined. They highlight socially distributed and different...
Article
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We examine the surges of five glaciers in the Pakistan Karakoram using satellite remote sensing to investigate the dynamic nature of surges in this region and how they may be affected by climate. Surface velocity maps derived by feature-tracking quantify the surge development spatially in relation to the terminus position, and temporally with refer...
Article
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This paper seeks to explain evidence of distinctive late- and post-Little Ice Age glacier change in the Karakoram Himalaya and a recent, seemingly anomalous, expansion. Attention is directed to processes that support and concentrate glacier mass, including an all-year accumulation regime, avalanche nourishment, and effects related to elevation. Gla...
Chapter
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Out of more than 320 late Quaternary rock avalanches identified in the Upper Indus Basin, some 161 formed cross-valley barriers impounding one or more rivers have been investigated. At least 228 lakes were associated with them. Only a few small lakes exist today, but many former lakes exceeded 20km long, a few, 90km. More than half the dams had an...
Article
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We discuss the implications of a set of terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) ages on blocky, cross-valley deposits of large rock avalanches along upper Indus streams. The dated deposits are key to understanding late Quaternary events that play a major role in landscape evolution in the Karakoram Himalaya. The landslides occurred between 3 and 8 ka...
Article
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The Karakoram and Alaska–Yukon region between them account for perhaps 90% of the known surging glacier events. While modern research and information is available for the latter region, the Karakoram, though often referred to, remains virtually unknown except in a very general sense. The prime aim of this paper is to collate all the information tha...
Article
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This paper calls attention to vulnerable groups that are disproportionately affected by smaller, less-publicized debris flow events and do not always receive the advantages of recent technical advances. The most vulnerable groups tend to be eco-nomically restricted to live in relatively inexpensive and more dangerous locations, are often forced to...
Article
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Catastrophic rockslides and related landscape developments are an integral part of human settlement along upper Indus streams. Large rockslides and the rock avalanches they can generate will destroy any living thing or built structure in their path. They realized that the deposits must record events that overwhelm or interrupt stream incision, caus...
Article
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The daily media is filled with images of catastrophic events which seem increasingly frequent and violent. In parallel there are a large range of scientific studies, debates in the policy arena, and a growing number of international institutions focused on disaster reduction. But a paradox remains that despite advances in technology, disasters cont...
Article
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Despite longstanding research on the age and formation of the Tibetan Plateau, the controls on the erosional decay of its margins remain controversial. Pronounced aridity and highly localized rock uplift have traditionally been viewed as limits to the dissection of the plateau by bedrock rivers. Recently, however, glacier dynamics and landsliding h...
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Article
This paper calls attention to vulnerable groups that are disproportionately affected by smaller, less-publicized debris flow events and do not always receive the advantages of recent technical advances. The most vulnerable groups tend to be economically restricted to live in relatively inexpensive and more dangerous locations, are often forced to l...
Article
Full-text available
During the preparation of a susceptibility map of mass wasting processes affecting Puente del Inca town, the controversial genesis of the Horcones deposit was reviewed and discussed. The surrounding landscape, the morphology of the deposit along with its mineralogical and textural features were analysed; finally several radiometric data were perfor...
Article
Full-text available
The possible role of paraglacial adjustments in catastrophic rock-slope failures is investigated. Most of some 250 rockslide-rock-avalanche events identified in the Upper Indus Basin descended from slopes affected by Quaternary glaciations. Examples from the lower Gilgit Basin in the Karakoram Himalaya illustrate relations of rock-wall failure to f...
Article
Regolith on Itokawa, a 300-meter diameter near-Earth asteroid, first imaged by the Hayabusa Spacecraft in 2005, provides a new database of information on surface features and different space-form (i.e. landform) assemblages. The satellite imagery was taken from distances of near-surface and 2 km to 63 m, the latter giving image resolutions of 6 mm/...
Article
The Nanga Parbat–Haramosh Massif has some of the greatest relief on Earth and highest measured rates of uplift, denudation, and river incision in bedrock. Many studies have sought to understand how its morphology relates to geotectonic evolution and glaciations. However, few catastrophic rock slope failures had been recognised and many of their imp...
Article
Full-text available
This paper re-examines seven field sites where blocky, cross-valley deposits have been important in interpretations of Quaternary events. The deposits are products of run out and emplacement of rock slide - rock avalanches. Each of the events dammed the river where it occurred and impounded large parts of the Upper Indus drainage for some centuries...
Article
Full-text available
Despite numerous studies on the age and formation of the Tibetan Plateau, the erosional decay of its margins remains largely unexplored. Pronounced aridity and localised high rates of rock uplift are two conventional ways to explain the limited efficacy of fluvial bedrock incision in dissecting the Plateau's rim. Yet evidence remains scarce to argu...
Article
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In the late 1990s widespread evidence of glacier expansion was found in the central Karakoram, in contrast to a worldwide decline of mountain glaciers. The expansions were almost exclusively in glacier basins from the highest parts of the range and developed quickly after decades of decline. Exceptional numbers of glacier surges were also reported....
Article
Catastrophic rock slope failures in rugged terrain commonly generate rock avalanches. When these occur in glacier basins the extent of landslide run out and its emplacement geometry are affected by movement over ice. Substantial modifications of glacier activity and sedimentation can follow. Ice activity leads to rapid modification, transport and d...
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In the bombing of urban settlements, the main impacts have been on resident civilians, living space and non-military functions. This is shown in the bombing of London, Berlin and Tokyo in the Second World War, arguably the first and only serious tests of strategic air power and urbicide to determine war outcomes. The history and scope of raiding of...
Article
The essay introduces public risk and destructive events in Canada, their conceptual and policy implications. The discussion is developed in four main steps. First, some widely held, if contradictory, perceptions of public security are identified. A relatively high level of personal safety for most Canadians is attributed to large government and pri...
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Full-text available
This review examines interpretive issues relating to catastrophic, long-runout landslides in the context of large numbers of recently discovered late Quaternary events. It links relevant research in landslide science, including some novel or hitherto-ignored complexities in the nature and role of these events, to broader concerns of mountain geomor...