Italian authorities have closed roads and evacuated mountain huts after experts warned that part of a glacier on Mont Blanc could collapse, reports the BBC. About 250,000 cubic meters of ice are in danger of breaking away from the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses peak, officials said.
Courmayeur Mayor Stefano Miserocchi yesterday 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 16-23″ per day. He reassured that there was no threat to residential areas or tourist facilities but mountain huts in the Rochefort area were being evacuated as a precaution.
“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.
The Planpincieux glacier has been closely monitored since 2013 in an attempt to establish the frequency with which ice is melting. But authorities warn that there is no “alert system” in place as experts say it is impossible to predict exactly when the mass of ice would collapse.
Rising global temperatures are causing the melting of mountain glaciers and the retreat of polar ice sheets. A couple of weeks ago, dozens of people took part in a “funeral march” to commemorate the loss of the Pizol glacier in Switzerland, and last month a similar ceremony happened in Iceland in memory of a glacier they lost.