Mont Blanc Glacier at Risk of Collapse Triggers Evacuations, Road Closures
With a glacier on Mont Blanc, Italy’s highest mountain, at risk of collapse, authorities closed roads and evacuated Alpine hamlets late last month, while Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called for action on climate change.
Stefano Miserocchi, mayor of the nearby town of Courmayeur, warned that 250,000 cubic metres of ice could fall down the 4,800-metre (15,750-foot) mountain, after experts said the Planpincieux glacier was speeding up as it slid down the slope at a rate of 50 to 60 centimetres (20 to 24 inches) per day.
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“These phenomena show once more how the mountain is experiencing a period of great changes due to climate factors, so it is especially vulnerable”, Miserocchi said.
“News that a glacier on the Mont Blanc risks collapsing is a warning that can’t leave us indifferent,” Conte told the United Nations General Assembly late last month. “It must shake us up, and we have to mobilize.”“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 might collapse,” BBC reports. “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.”