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The Fedchenko Glacier (Russian: Ледник Федченко) is a large glacier in the Yazgulem Range, Pamir Mountains, of north-central Gorno-Badakhshan province, Tajikistan. The glacier is long and narrow, currently extending for 77 kilometers (48 mi) and covering over 700 square kilometers (270 sq mi). It is the longest glacier in the world outside of the polar regions.[1] The maximum thickness of the glacier is 1,000 meters (3,300 ft), and the volume of the Fedchenko and its dozens of tributaries is estimated at 144 cubic kilometers (35 cu mi)—about a third the volume of Lake Erie.

Path and location


The glacier follows a generally northward path to the east of the 6,595 m (21,637 ft) Garmo Peak. The glacier begins at an elevation of 6,200 meters (20,300 ft) above sea level, and eventually melts and empties into the Balandkiik River near the border with Kyrgyzstan at an elevation of 2,909 meters (9,544 ft). Its waters eventually feed down the Muksu, Surkhob, Vakhsh, and Amu Darya rivers into the Aral Sea.

To the west is the Academy of Sciences Range, Mount Garmo, Ismoil Somoni Peak, Peak Korzhenevskaya and the headwaters of the Vanj River and Yazgulyam River. To the south is Independence Peak and to the east Gorbunov Peak (6,025 meters). To the north is Altyn Mazar.

Discovery


The glacier was discovered in 1878 but not fully explored until 1928 by a German-Soviet expedition under Willi Rickmer Rickmers. It is named after Alexei Pavlovich Fedchenko, a Russian explorer (but not the discoverer of the glacier). In 1910-1913 the glacier expanded and moved forward by 800–1000 m, blocking up the Balyandlik River the following year. It continued to recede between 1928-1960, stopping its inflows such as the Kosinenko, Ulugbeck, Alert and several others.