PART OF GLACIER ON MT BLANC COULD COLLAPSE
25th September 2019
Last modified on August 10th, 2020
Roads have been closed, paths shut & huts evacuated on the Italian side of the mountain. 250,000 cubic metres of ice are in danger of breaking away.
The glacier under threat is the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses peak in the Mt Blanc Massif.
After a warm summer and two distinct heat waves in Europe the ice has become unstable.
It now threatens to break away.
The mayor of the nearby ski resort of Courmayeur, Stefano Miserocchi, said global warming was changing the mountain.
He has signed an order closing roads in the Val Ferret on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, after experts warned that a section of the glacier was sliding at speeds of 50-60cm (16-23in) per day.
He said there was no threat to residential areas or tourist facilities .
The mountain huts in the Rochefort area were being evacuated as a precaution he said.
“These phenomena once again show how the mountain is going through a period of major change due to climate factors and, therefore, it is particularly vulnerable,” Mr Miserocchi told Italian media.
Experts from the Valle d’Aosta regional government and the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountain Foundation) say it is impossible to predict exactly when the mass of ice would collapse.
It follows the ski resort of Tignes in France announcing this week it would not be able to open for glacier skiing this weekend as there is not enough snow”
It is a big blow for Tignes which had to cut short its summer skiing season this year:
Last weekend a service was held to mark the disappearance of the Pizon glacier in North-East Switzerland:
Here on PlanetSKI we have been running a series of special features this week on the environmental impact of climate change in the Alps:
The glaciers in Europe are now shrinking at an increasingly alarming rate as rising temperatures take their toll.
On the Italian side of Mont Blanc scientists are monitoring the current situation carefully.