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Glaciers in Pakistan

Pakistan Glaciers amount to the greatest mass and collection of glaciated ice in the whole world apart from the North and South Poles. The Mountain ranges of Northern Pakistan are host to some of the greatest glacier systems outside the Polar Regions. 

Mostly concentrated in the Karakorum range and followed by Himalaya and Hundukush Ranges, these glaciers cover an area of about 13,680 square kilometres, which is 13% of the mountainous regions in the upper Indus River Basin. The total length of glaciers on the lap of Karakoram in Pakistan is above 6160 square kilometres. According to estimates, almost 37% of the Karakoram region is under the glaciers. 

These include Siachen Glacier- the world 2nd longest glacier (75 kilometres), located in the eastern Karakoram range along the disputed India-Pakistan line of control. It is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second longest in the world outside the polar regions. Its altitute ranges from 5,753 m in the upper reaches to to 3,620 m in the lower reaches. 

Biafo glacier the world third longest glacier (63 kilometres) is also found in the same region, which meets the Hispar glacier at the famous snow lake at the height of 5,128 m, creating the longest glaciated highway in the world from Shigar valley to Nagar Valley. 
Here are also found other famous glaciers i.e. Baltoro (62 kilometres), Batura (58 kilometres) Hispar (53 kilometres) etc. Overall according to conservative estimates there are more 120 major glaciers and numerous smaller glaciers in northern highlands of Pakistan and many of these still need to be explored and documented. 

These glaciers are enormous reservoirs of fresh water and their melted water is an important resource which feed the river system in Pakistan. These glaciers are prone to climatic changes and global warming and any sort of glacier depletion can greatly affect agriculture, drinking water supplies, hydro-electric power, and ecological habitats. These glaciers, with the breathtaking scenic beauty attract huge number of tourists and thus form quite an important aspect of Pakistan Tourism.

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