New Study of Switzerland’s Plaine Morte Glacier

September 8, 2011 / Switzerland, Europe
Plaine Morte Glacier Dye Tracing

Photo via Le Nouvelliste

A team of researchers from the universities of Bern, Freiburg and Lausanne recently began to try to answer the question; where does the melt water from Switzerland’s Plaine Morte glacier go?

Due to a complex hydrogeological situation in the area, no one knows whether the melt water flows north to Bern or south to Valais.

The team, in cooperation with Swiss Institute of Speleology and Karstology (ISSKA), recently introduced fluorescent tracers in the glacier.

During the next few weeks over 30 people will be taking samples at different locations.

The goal is to be able to present options and develop policies for sustainable management of the water trapped inside.

At over 10 square kilometers (3.9 square miles) the Plaine Morte glacier is a considered a valuable reservoir of water, that will become increasingly important with the predicted shortage of blue gold in the future.

According to researchers, they estimate that the glacier will be almost entirely gone by the end of the century.

The initial results of the study will be available in fall.

Update: More information, including results, are available starting on page 234 of the 9th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Abstract PDF.

Mais où disparaît l’eau du glacier? [Le Nouvelliste via Cota Zero]

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