Italian authorities evacuate Alpine valley amid risk of cathedral-sized glacier breaking apart
COURMAYEUR (ITALY) – A section of an Italian Alpine valley has been evacuated as a melting glacier, which is as big as a cathedral, is at risk of breaking apart because of a heat wave.
Authorities on Wednesday raised the alarm when experts hovering above the Planpincieux glacier in a helicopter noticed that the ice formation at an altitude of 2,800 metres in the Ferret Valley in the Mont Blanc was slipping dangerously.
According to experts, a heat wave has created a layer of water under the glacier, which is made up of 500 cubic metres of ice, almost measuring up to Milan Cathedral, making it vulnerable.
“There is an enormous block of ice resting on the rock and the danger is that it could detach in an instant,” glacier expert Fabrizio Troilo.
As many as 75 residents and tourists in the valley have been evacuated and police set up roadblocks to prevent people from entering the area.
The valley has been divided into two zones. The red zone comprises the area which could be directly hit while the yellow area is likely to suffer shock waves.
“The season was going well despite the COVID pandemic,” said Jacopo Nitri, who runs a small hotel. “I had to send away 25 clients and cancel some reservations. If the situation is not resolved in the next few days it will be a disaster.”
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field