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Mont Blanc Glacier at Risk of Collapse Triggers Evacuations

Europe News National Parks
by Eben Diskin Sep 25, 2019

One of the glaciers on Western Europe’s highest mountain is in danger of collapse.

It is feared that 250,000 cubic meters of ice will break away from the Planpincieux glacier on Mont Blanc, so Italian authorities have ordered the closure of roads, as well as the evacuation of homes and mountain refuges as a precautionary measure in the area of Val Ferret.

Experts estimate that sections of the Planpincieux glacier are sliding at speeds of 16 to 23 inches per day. Rising temperatures around the world are causing the global melting of glaciers, as well as the retreat of polar ice sheets, so the condition of the Planpincieux glacier isn’t exactly a surprise.

Stefano Miserocchi, the mayor of Courmayeur, said in a statement, “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. In this case, it’s a temperate glacier particularly sensitive to high temperatures.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte highlighted the seriousness of the situation in a climate change speech to the UN General Assembly. “It is now news that a glacier on Mont Blanc risks collapsing,” he said. “It’s an alarm that cannot leave us indifferent. It must shake us all and mobilize us.”

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