Italian authorities remain cautious and have proceeded to the closure of roads and the evacuation of people while experts warn about a possible collapse of a part of a glacier in the Mont-Blanc massif.
Mont Blanc at an altitude of 4809 meters is the highest point in the Alps. It is the highest peak in Western Europe. Located on the French-Italian border, between the department of Haute-Savoie in France and the Aosta Valley in Italy. With an elevation ranging from 3.660 m to 2.345 m the glacier is located on the Italian side of the Mont-Blanc massif, on the southern side of the Grandes Jorasses peak.
Experts have been monitoring the glacier closely since 2013 to detect the speed at which the ice is melting. The rate has increased significantly recently with sliding at speeds of 50-60cm per day. It is difficult to predict when the ice would break away, but the threat is real and imminent.
As a precautionary measure, the Italian authorities decided to close several roads and evacuate several inhabitans. According to experts, nearly 250.000 cubic meters of ice could collapse from Planpincieux Glacier.
Despite the evacuation as a precautionary principle and the closure of several roads, the mayor indicated however that there was no immediate threat to residential areas or tourist facilities. Since 2013, the Planpincieux Glacier has been closely monitored by scientists to try to see how fast the ice melts. However, experts from the regional government said it was impossible to say when exactly this part of the glacier could collapse.
Global warming has been associated with the possible collapse of the glacier by the mayor of Courmayeur, Stefano Miserocchi. With global warming, melting glaciers are accelerating. Last summer, in August 2018, a tragedy took place in Courmayeur. While a couple was driving on a road, the car was swept away in a landslide. Following this incident, hundreds of people were evacuated, some by helicopter.
In Switzerland, dozens of people took part in a funeral march earlier this month to denounce the disappearance of the Pizol glacier in northeastern Switzerland. Scientists say the glacier has lost 80% of its volume since 2006, a trend that is accelerating as temperatures rise.