94. Reading Skills Comprehension: Glaciers


Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow them:

1. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. When areas in and around Leh began to experience water shortages, life didn’t grind to a halt. Why? Because ChewangNorphel, a retired civil engineer in the Jammu and Kashmir government came up with the idea of artificial glaciers.

2. Ladakh, a cold desert at an altitude of 3,000-3,500 metres above sea level, has a low average annual rainfall rate of 50mm. Glaciers have always been the only source of water. Agriculture is completely dependent on glacier melt unlike the rest of river/monsoon-fed India. But over the years with increasing effects of climate change, rainfall and snowfall patterns have been changing, resulting in severe shortage and drought situations. Given the severe winter conditions, the window for farming is usually limited to one harvest season.

3. It is located between the natural glacier above and the village below. The one closer to the village and lowest in altitude melts first, providing water during April/May, the crucial sowing season. Further layers of ice above melt with increasing temperature thus ensuring continuous supply to the fields. Thus, farmers have been able to manage two crops instead of one. It costs about Z1,50,000 and above to create one.

4. Fondly called the “glacier man”, MrNorphel has designed over 15 artificial glaciers in and around Leh since 1987. In recognition of his pioneering effort, he was conferred the Padma Shri by President Pranab Mukherjee, in 2015.

5. There are few basic steps followed in creating the artificial glacier.

6. River or stream water at higher altitude is diverted to a shaded area of the hill, facing north, where the winter sun is blocked by a ridge or a mountain range. At the start of winter/November, the diverted water is made to flow onto sloping hill face through distribution channels. Stone embankments are built at regular intervals which impede the flow of water, making shallow pools and freeze, forming a cascade of ice along the slope. Ice formation continues for 3-4 months resulting in a large accumulation of ice which is referred to as an “artificial glacier”.

Word-Meaning: Grind—smash, crush, Artificial—handmade, Glaciers—a large mass of ice, Altitude—height, elevation, Crucial—all-important, Fondly—lovingly, diverted—changed direction, Ridge—a narrow area of high land along the top of a line of hills, Range—chain of mountains, Channels—a passage that water can flow along, Embankments—walls of stone or earth made to keep water back, Impede—obstruct, hinder, Pools—puddle, Cascade—a large amount of water falling,

Attempt any eight of the following questions on the basis of the passage you have read.

1. Who was Chewang Norphel?

2. What kind of landform is Ladakh?

3. Why have glaciers been the only source of water for Ladakh?

4. Why has the pattern of snowfall and rainfall changed?

 5. How are Glaciers significant for irrigation?

6. How do farmers manage to grow two crops instead of one?

7.in which year did President Pranab Mukherjee confer Padma Shri to MrNorphel?

8. How many months does the ice formation continue for?

9. Find the word in paragraph 6 which means the same as ‘gathering’?


  1. Chewang Norphel was a retired civil engineer.

2. Ladakh is a cold desert.

3. Because Ladakh is a cold desert at 3000-3500 meters, the annual rainfall rate is just 50 mm.

4. The pattern of snowfall and rainfall has changed because of climate change.

 5. Glaciers provide water in the months of April/May. It is crucial for irrigation.

6. Glaciers and their layers close to the village melt with increasing temperature and provide a continuous supply of water to the fields.

7. In 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee conferred Padma Shri to Mr Norphel.

8. The ice formation continues for 3-4 months.

 9. Accumulation.

Download the above Passage in PDF Worksheet (Printable)

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