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Avalanches in Kashmir (relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper III)

Ten soldiers were killed and four went missing after twin avalanches hit an Army patrol party and a camp in Bandipora’s Gurez valley, 200 km from Srinagar.

What is an Avalanche?
On any slope, the snow is piled up and supported by a snow-pack. It keeps the snow from tumbling down all the time. Avalanches occur when the snow-pack starts to weaken and allows the buildup of snow to be released. Small avalanches are generally made up of ice, snow and air. The larger ones comprise of rocks, trees, debris and even mud that is resting on the lower slopes. Contrary to belief, these snow slides are not random events that occur without any warning signs. Rainfall and sleet also tend to be responsible for avalanches in the summer and monsoon season. Global warming is leading to increase of avalanches.

Hypothermia
Excessive exposure to snow leads to a condition called Hypothermia (loss of body heat). 

The effects of hypothermia are: 
1.    Frost bite leading to Gangrene in hands and feet. 
2.    Fluid in lungs 
3.    Inflammation of Pancreas 
4.    Pneumonia 
5.    Kidney failure 
6.    Heart failure 



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