Section of glacier collapses in the Italian Alps: at least six dead

A slice of glacier s&rsquo ;collapses in the Italian Alps: at least six dead

The Marmolada glacier is the largest in the Italian Alps.

A huge block broke off Sunday from the Marmolada glacier, the largest in the Italian Alps, which caused an avalanche and caused the at least six dead and eight injured.

A spokesperson for the rescue teams, Michela Canova, speaks of a still provisional toll.

Two injured were taken to hospital in Belluno; another, more seriously injured, was taken to Treviso, and five others to Trento, she said, without giving details of the nationality of the victims.

Several helicopters flew dispatched to assist with relief operations and to monitor developments.

“[There was] an avalanche of snow, ice and rock which, in its path, hit the access road when several ropes were there, some of which were swept away.

— Michela Canova, relief spokesperson

The final number of mountaineers involved is not yet known, Michela Canova mentions.

According to the civil protection service of the nearby Veneto region, all the alpine rescue teams in the area have been mobilized, including canine squads.

< p class="e-p">The glacier collapsed near the locality of Punta Rocca, along the route normally taken to reach its summit.

Images filmed from a nearby refuge of the disaster show the snow mixed with rock rolling down the slopes of the mountain in a crashing noise. Other images captured by tourists show the grayish tongue of the avalanche from afar, sweeping away everything in its path.

This collapse of the glacier occurred the day after a record temperature reached at the top of the glacier, which was 10 degrees Celsius.

According to Renato Colucci, a glacier specialist quoted by the Italian agency AGI, this phenomenon is bound to repeat itself, because for weeks the temperatures at altitude on the Alps have been far beyond normal values.

He specifies that the extreme heat of the last days […] probably produced a large quantity of liquid water coming from the melting of the glacier and accumulating at the base of the block which then collapsed for lack of support.

The Marmolada glacier is the largest of the Dolomites, a mountain range in northern Italy that is part of the Alps. Located in the Autonomous Province of Trento, it gives birth to the Avisio River and overlooks Lake Fedaia.

According to the IPCC report released on March 1, the melting of ice and snow is one of the 10 major threats caused by global warming, which disrupts ecosystems and threatens certain infrastructures.

According to the IPCC, glaciers in Scandinavia, central Europe and the Caucasus could lose 60-80% of their mass by the end of the century. The traditional life of peoples like the Sami in Lapland, who practice reindeer herding, is already being disrupted.

In Canada and Russia, thawing permafrost is hampering certain activities economical.

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