Officials in northwestern Italy have evacuated part of an Alpine resort town and are closely monitoring a glacier which, following days of warm temperatures, is showing signs of breaking apart and could crash into the valley below.
Officials Thursday evacuated 75 residents and tourists in the Ferret Valley from their homes and two lodgings in the shadow of the glacier.
Aerial views of the Planpincieux Glacier taken Friday show a large section - estimated to be about 500,000 cubic meters in size, breaking away from the rest of the ice field. A regional glacier expert, Valerio Segor, told reporters Friday the section is about the size of a cathedral, or perhaps a soccer field if it were under 80 meters of ice.
Segor said the next two or three days will be critical for the glacier, as temperatures are expected to rise during that time. He said water circulation between the ice and rocks beneath will determine if glacier breaks apart.
The Planpincieux Glacier is located under a group of Alpine peaks on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, near the border with France.