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Experts warned Italian authorities the glacier is slipping off 50 cm every day
A glacier of a quarter of a million cubic meters of ice is at risk of sliding off the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses peak in the Italian portion of the massif of Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest mountain range, BBC reported.
This Tuesday Stefano Miserocchi, Mayor of the nearby town of Courmayeur, signed an order closing roads and evacuating homes and mountain refuges in the area. 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", BBC continues.
According to The Guardian, the alarm came from experts in the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountains Foundation) in the Aosta Valley and others who have been studying the mountain for years and realized the glacier is sliding a record rate of 50 cm a day. However, experts say it is impossible to know for a fact when the glacier will break away.
Dr. Daniele Giordan, a geologist from the Italian National Research Council told The New York Times “a collapse that big could reach the bottom of the valley” in the form of an avalanche reaching and harming anyone on the mountain or the bottom.
The Telegraph reported Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte addressed the situation on an intervention to the United Nations National Assembly in New York. “The news that a glacier on Mont Blanc risks collapsing is a warning that can't leave us indifferent, it must shake us up and we have to mobilise," he said.
According to The Telegraph, environmentalists think this is not a minor problem since they have warned that within 20 to 30 years, glaciers lying beneath 3,500m could disappear altogether.
Mont Blanc has 11 peaks above 4,000m in France and Italy, which are an attraction for many every year. The glacier lies at an altitude of around 3,800m. In the last years and months, other glaciers have disappeared.