Switzerland at the start of winter has lost 60 foot of mountain due to permafrost loss. Here is what happened.
On June 11, the summit of Mt. Fluchthorn, which sits among the tallest group of mountains in Switzerland, collapsed without warning, sending 3.5 million cubic feet of rock tumbling into the valley below. There were no people injured.
The mountain collapse was due to the loss of permafrost. This permanent layer of ice and dirt exists on many mountains.
Jasper Knight, a geoscientist at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, told Insider: “Permafrost is important because frozen water within the ground holds the ground surface together and prevents it from moving.
When the ice melts the water of course flows away leaving quite often unstable soil and rock. Mt. Fluchthorn had a lot of permafrost. “Global warming is causing the permafrost to melt, which is the trigger for these mass movement events to take place,” Knight said.
Why is this collapse a concern? Scientists report 670 million people live in mountain regions. This puts these people at risk of mudslides, rockfall and floods as well as destroying farmland in the valleys.
Source : DK