6 hikers were killed, while 9 others were injured after a large chunk of an Alpine glacier broke loose Sunday & roared down a mountain in Italy.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the section of ice to break away and rush down the peak’s slope, but the intense heat wave gripping Italy since late June loomed as a possible factor.
The glacier, in the Marmolada range, is the largest in the Dolomite mountains in northeastern Italy and people ski there in the winter. However, the glacier has been rapidly melting away in recent years.
Experts at Italy’s state-run CNR research center, which has a polar sciences institute, say the glacier won’t exist anymore in the next 25-30 years and much of its volume is already gone.
The Mediterranean basin, shared by southern Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, has been identified by UN experts as a “climate change hot spot,” likely to suffer heat waves and water shortages, among other consequences.