Mont Blanc glacier facing collapse

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. 

"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.

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