About 250,000 cubic meters of ice are in danger of breaking away from the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses peak. The Safe Mountain Foundation has been studying the glacier’s movement since 2013 and has observed “an increase in speed.” The glacier is shifting at an average peak speed between 19.6 to 23.6 inches per day. The Italian authorities closed off roads and evacuated certain areas. “This phenomenon once again testifies that the mountain is in a phase of strong change due to climatic factors, therefore it is particularly vulnerable,” Stefano Miserocchi, mayor of the town of Courmayeur, said in a statement.
The Mont Blanc massif has 11 peaks of about 4,000 meters in France and Italy, and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte alerted world leaders to the risk of the glacier’s collapse during his address Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He told “it is an alarm that we cannot be indifferent to.” Melting glaciers can not only contribute to rising sea levels, but can also pose a threat to humans through landslides, avalanches, rockfalls and floods.