Small piece of melting Italian glacier accelerates

Published September 30, 2019, 9:05 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By the Associated Press

An expert monitoring a fast-moving glacier on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif says a small section has picked up speed and could break off in the coming days.

The Planpincieux glacier located in the Alps on the Grande Jorasses peak of the Mont Blanc massif, is seen from Val Ferret, a popular hiking area on the south side of the Mont Blanc, near Courmayeur, northern Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Italian officials sounded an alarm Wednesday over climate change due to the threat that the fast-moving melting glacier is posing to the picturesque valley near the Alpine town of Courmayeur, the glacier, which spreads 1,327 square kilometers (512 square miles) across the mountain, has been moving up to 50 centimeters (nearly 20 inches) a day (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni/MANILA BULLETIN)
The Planpincieux glacier located in the Alps on the Grande Jorasses peak of the Mont Blanc massif, is seen from Val Ferret, a popular hiking area on the south side of the Mont Blanc, near Courmayeur, northern Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Italian officials sounded an alarm Wednesday over climate change due to the threat that the fast-moving melting glacier is posing to the picturesque valley near the Alpine town of Courmayeur, the glacier, which spreads 1,327 square kilometers (512 square miles) across the mountain, has been moving up to 50 centimeters (nearly 20 inches) a day (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni/MANILA BULLETIN)

Fabrizio Troilo, a glaciologist with the Safe Mountain Foundation, said Monday that the piece — measuring some 27,000 cubic meters (953,390 cubic feet) — is moving at 60 centimeters (23.6 inches) a day.

That is about twice as fast as a massive 250,000-cubic-meter (8,827,683-cubic feet) chunk that also risks breaking off from the Planpincieux glacier.

Troilo said the smaller piece “could collapse in the next days or week,” but that such collapses are annual events and would have no impact on the rest of the valley.

Experts say the increased melting rate has been linked to climate change.

 
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