Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, September 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 53° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Alpine glacier in Italy threatens valley, forces evacuations

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 7, 2020

Associated Press

Associated Press

ROME – Experts were closely monitoring a Mont Blanc glacier on Friday, a day after they evacuated 75 tourists and residents amid fears the glacier could soon break apart and crash into a popular Italian Alpine valley.

Valerio Segor, a glacier expert in Valle d’Aosta, a region in northwestern Italy, said Friday that the next 72 hours were critical for the Planpincieux Glacier, which lies under a massif on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.

Those forced to evacuate came from homes and holiday lodgings in the Ferret Valley in the shadow of the glacier. Tourists on Friday were barred from entering the scenic valley.

The glacier’s size has been likened to that of a soccer field under a 265-foot high mass of ice. Abrupt shifts in temperature from hot to cold to hot again are being blamed for the precarious state of the glacier, which Segor said has a stream of water running beneath it.

The glacier’s state has been monitored since 2013. Last year saw similar concerns, but the glacier held on to its grip on the mountain at 8,500-9,200 feet of altitude.

Lately, Planpincieux has been creeping downward at the rate of about 32-40 inches each day, Segor said. The Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted glacier expert Fabrizio Troilo as saying there is “the danger it could give way in an instant.”

Corriere said an Alpine refuge was still open for climbers who come from the French side of Mont Blanc, which is known in Italy as Monte Blanco.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.


4 favorite Gonzaga basketball teams

The basketball court at the McCarthey Athletic Center is photographed before an NCAA college basketball game between Gonzaga and BYU, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak) (Young Kwak / AP Photo)
Sponsored

While we look ahead to future seasons of Gonzaga Bulldog basketball , it’s fun to look at highlights from past years.