Swiss warn massive ice chunk may break off glacier

Oct 04, 2011
A massive part of a glacier the size of 12 football fields in the Swiss Alps could break off, local authorities warned, after the discovery of an enormous crevasse in the glacier below the Jungfaru peak.

A massive part of a glacier the size of 12 football fields in the Swiss Alps could break off, local authorities warned, after the discovery of an enormous crevasse in the glacier.

Swiss authorities have formed a crisis team to monitor the situation and blocked all hiking trails close to the Giesen glacier located at an of 2,800 metres, below the north face of the Jungfrau peak in the Bernese alps.

Christian Abbuehl, who is heading the crisis team at the Lauterbrunnen commune, confirmed that the size of ice that risks breaking off to be about 12 football fields.

"But we do not know how thick the ice is, so we do not know the volume of water that could be generated if it melts," he said.

The large crack was discovered about a month ago, and prompted the Lauterbrunnen commune to issue a warning.

"A crevasse has been discovered at the Giesen glacier, which is found on the northeast side under the Jungfrau, leading to small pieces of ice falling off," said the commune.

"We cannot rule out that a large amount of ice could break off in the direction of Trimmleten-Sandbach," it added.

Abbuehl said the situation remains unchanged from the September warning, but noted that it could improve as the temperature falls.

While it has been unseasonably warm in early October, the weather is expected to turn by Friday, with expected in the Alps.

"At the moment, the danger is not so great as it is going to get colder. For the population there is also no immediate danger," noted Abbuehl.

"But we are observing the situation on a daily basis and we have closed off the hiking paths around the site," he added.

It is not uncommon for parts of to break off. At the same time, a could also cause glaciers to form from melting snow.

Explore further: Water crisis threatens thirsty Sao Paulo

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tasman Glacier retreat extreme

Apr 23, 2008

The Tasman Glacier is retreating faster than ever and will ultimately disappear, glaciologists at Massey University are warning.

Global glacier melt continues

Jan 29, 2009

Glaciers around the globe continue to melt at high rates. Tentative figures for the year 2007, of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, indicate a further loss of average ice thickness ...

Recommended for you

Coal gas boom in China holds climate change risks

19 minutes ago

Deep in the hilly grasslands of remote Inner Mongolia, twin smoke stacks rise more than 200 feet into the sky, their steam and sulfur billowing over herds of sheep and cattle. Both day and night, the rumble ...

Water crisis threatens thirsty Sao Paulo

8 hours ago

Sao Paulo is thirsty. A severe drought is hitting Brazil's largest city and thriving economic capital with no end in sight, threatening the municipal water supply to millions of people.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dbsi
not rated yet Oct 04, 2011
In reliable Swiss press the affected area was reported to be about 80'000 square meters.
So it is about 12 soccer fields or about 15 football fields.