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Roads closed amid warnings Mont Blanc glacier could collapse

A view of the Planpincieux glacier along the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif in the area of Planpincieux, Aosta
A view of the Planpincieux glacier along the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif in the area of Planpincieux, Aosta   -  
Local Team/REUTERS
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Roads have been closed near Mont Blanc — Western Europe's highest mountain — amid fears that part of a glacier could collapse.

Experts have warned 250,000 cubic metres of ice could break away from the Planpincieux glacier on the Italian side of the massif.

It comes on the day that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned melting ice in high mountainous regions are presenting dangers to people living in those communities.

"With the strong heat of this summer, there was, between August and the first half of September, an acceleration of the melting of the glacier, at an average rhythm of 35 centimetres by day, up to peaks of 50 or 60 cm on certain days," Moreno Vignolini, a press officer for civic authorities in Courmayeur, told AFP news agency.

Courmayeur's mayor, Stefano Miserocchi, said in a statement that "the towns and tourist facilities are not at risk," and that this is just a precautionary measure.

The glacier's melting was detected by experts at Montagna Sicura Foundation, who have been monitoring the mountain since 2013.

"Such phenomena testify once again how the mountain is in a phase of strong change due to climatic factors, therefore it is particularly vulnerable," added Miserocchi.

This is just one of many glaciers that are melting in Europe as a result of climate change.

On 22 September, hundreds of people held a funeral in Switzerland for a glacier that had lost 80-90% of its volume in the past decade.

In August, scientists in Iceland memorialised the disappearance of another glacier, the first disappearance in the country.

They left a plaque that read: “This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”

Scientists are unable to determine when Planpincieux will melt.

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