Access to the small valley of Val Ferret, on the Italian side of the Mont-Blanc massif, remained prohibited, Friday, August 7, by local authorities, worried about the risk of a huge glacier collapsing in an inhabited area.

In the Italian part of the Mont-Blanc massif, a huge piece of a Grandes Jorasses glacier threatens to collapse due to the heat. Its volume is estimated at 500,000 cubic meters, the "size of Milan Cathedral, or a football field covered with 80 meters of ice", according to the authorities of the Italian town of Courmayeur. They ordered, Wednesday evening, the evacuation of dozens of residents and tourists from this municipality in the Valle d'Aosta region located near the border with France.

#Courmayeur #GrandesJorasses #Alpes: part of the Pleinpincieux glacier threatens to collapse, threatening a road and around thirty homes, evacuated by the Italian authorities. The road to Val Ferret is cut off. Area under radar surveillance.

- Alban Mikoczy (@AlbanMikoczy) August 6, 2020

Seventy-five people evacuated

"No one passes! Neither car, nor bicycle, nor pedestrian": an automatic barrier and two security guards block the access to the asphalt road winding through the hollow of the green valley, at the foot of the Grandes Jorasses and the Planpincieux glacier, AFP noted.

In the Italian region of Valle d'Aosta, the Val Ferret valley, which in this summer is a joy for tourists and mountain enthusiasts, is close to the famous resort of Courmayeur and the entrance to the Mont tunnel. White, axis between France and Italy.

In total, 75 people were evacuated, around 20 residents and vacationers. The evacuation "was urgent and imperative", justified the mayor of Courmayeur, Stefano Miserocchi, speaking of a "high state of alert" for 72 hours.

Local authorities are worried about the temperature for the next three days during this period of strong summer heat, after a cold snap at the end of July.

A large fault visible on the lower part

"This situation is particularly delicate, because it disrupts the level of the water between the ice and the rock, and therefore the stability of the glacier", explained to AFP Valerio Segor, director of natural risk management for the Val. from Aosta. "The problem now is that the water does not drain enough and remains like a bubble under the glacier, risking to lift it" and precipitate the fall of its most fragile part, he added.

A large fault was indeed visible on the lower part of the Planpincieux, from which flowed two waterfalls towards the valley, AFP noted during a helicopter flight over the majestic glacier, clinging to the wall like a gigantic block of grayish polystyrene.

In September and October, this Planpincieux glacier had already threatened to partially collapse, over a portion of nearly 250,000 cubic meters. Surveillance measures have since been put in place.

With AFP

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