WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- In the wake of rising temperatures, the most recognizably shaped mountain in the Alps is discovered by new research to be crumbling.
- As reported by the Times, a team of Zurich researchers who implanted sensors to determine how the mountain is coping with ice loss found that cracks are spreading across the mountain causing landslides.
- Additionally, data also revealed that this ice loss is extending to the Alps indicating a steady decline of ice in glaciers.
The Matterhorn is cracking.
Thanks to a two-fold increase in average global temperatures as a result of climate change, one of Europe’s tallest and the most recognizably shaped mountain in the Alps is literally falling to bits, reports a new scientific research.
While the mountain’s famous shape is often featured in movies and even the logo of Toblerone chocolate, the Matterhorn measures 14,692 feet above sea level at its highest point and is found between Switzerland and Italy.
The Times reports that last month, a team of ETH Zurich installed 50 movement sensors at 13,000 feet to detect how the mountain is coping with melting permafrost, the frozen soil layer beneath the Earth’s surface. Results suggested that the cracks appearing on the Matterhorn are expanding across its surface causing falling rocks and landslides.
According to researcher Jan Beutel and a member of the ETH team, when high mountains melt in the summertime, ground sediments soften and become unsteady with water, causing cracks to expand and move.
“Many continue to move in the same direction every year and then, at some point, it’s too much and a small scale of the surface breaks off. If there were more ice in place — as in the good old mountaineering past — it wouldn’t be that bad, since the ice cover would still hold these pieces together,” explained Beutel.
Now, this loss of ice spreads to the rest of the Alps. Reports by the World Glacier Monitoring Service indicate a steady decline in glaciers, which are the most sensitive climate change indicators.
Furthermore, the fact that alpine glacier mass have been decreasing at an incredible rate for 30 consecutive years, clearly suggests that the ‘diet or lifestyle’ of alpine glaciers is no longer healthy and will continue a downward health retreat, according to a scientist, Mauri Pelto, in his Real Climate commentary writeup.
The Matterhorn is not just a mountain. With its steep craggy faces, the amazing peak is interlaced with Swiss identity, a prized challenge for mountaineers and a favorite subject of photography.
In 1865, the first climb by humans marked the golden age of alpine mountaineering. However, four of the seven climbers died. Following the death of the seventh climber this year, guides called on officials earlier this year to close the mountain saying it was “too dangerous”. Three more lives were claimed in July alone, of which the reported cause of death was-falling rocks.
Source: New York Post