LHASA , China, July 18 (UPI) — Nine people died in an avalanche in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, officials said.
Rising temperatures shifted snow in the region, average elevation of which is 14,800 feet, provoking the avalanche Sunday. Up to 26 feet of snow struck traditional grazing areas, killing about 350 sheep and 110 yaks, the Ngari Prefecture government reported.
The incident occurred in Dungru Village, about 185 miles from the county seat of Rutong in western Tibet, near the border with India.
Officials said cracks, prompted by global warming and rising temperatures, are appearing in surrounding glaciers, leading them to believe more avalanches could occur as ice and snow splits off from glaciers, a phenomenon scientists call “calving.”
It comes as China deals with additional floods and landslides. At least 83 people died, and 19 remain missing, after a typhoon struck eastern China last week, and over 300 have died in recent rains and floods.