Italian valley evacuated as cathedral-sized glacier slips

COURMAYEUR, Italy: A melting glacier as large as a cathedral is at risk of breaking apart due to a heatwave, forcing the evacuation of part of an Italian alpine valley.

The alarm was raised on Wednesday (Aug 5) afternoon when experts in helicopters realised that the Planpincieux glacier, at an altitude of about 2,800m in the Ferret Valley in the Mont Blanc massif, was slipping dangerously.

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A heatwave has created a layer of water under the glacier, which is made up of about 500 cubic metres of ice – roughly the size of the Milan cathedral – making it more prone to a break.

"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 told the Corriere della Sera newspaper's website.

About 75 residents and tourists in homes or hotels in hamlets in the threatened part of the valley were evacuated and police threw up roadblocks to prevent others from entering.

The threatened part of the valley was divided into a "red zone" that could take a direct hit and a "yellow zone" that could suffer from shock waves caused by the displacement of air and other secondary effects.

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Many tourists in parts of the valley not directly threatened by an eventual collapse had Read More – Source