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Event Details

Glacier Melting event report

Category: Glacier Melting
Observation: 30.07.2010
Continent: Europe
Country: France
State: Alps
Area: Tête-Rousse glacier
Location:
Severity: Hight
Event details
A pocket of water big enough to fill 20 Olympic pools, trapped inside a glacier on Mont Blanc, could burst at any time and endanger lives in a French Alpine valley, officials said on Thursday. Researchers at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) said 65,000 cubic metres of water discovered inside the Tête-Rousse glacier could explode and destroy everything in its path, including nearby villages and nearly 900 homes. Such a catastrophe happened in the area in 1892, killing around 200 people. Researchers made the discovery when carrying out a routine check on the glacier. "We did not expect at all to find this pocket of water," said Christian Vincent, a CNRS geophysics engineer. "This occurrence is very rare. Water in glaciers usually drains naturally, trickling away. In this case, the glacier has imprisoned very cold water and risks exploding under pressure. It now looks like a pressure cooker," Vincent said. Local authorities said they had warned over 3,000 residents and told them what was being done to drain the water. "Pumping operations through vertically drilled pockets on top of glacier to drain the water will begin from mid-August to October," said Jean-Marc Peillex, mayor of the nearby town of St Gervais.
Event map:
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