Glaciers in the Alps

Glaciers in the Alps account, on the whole, for less than 0.02% of the world glaciers, but are very important because it is here that the first glaciology studies were started, and  we have a lot of information about these glaciers over a long period of time. The 1989 International Glacier Registry recorded 5,154 glaciers in the Alps with a surface of a little less than 3,000 km2 , of which the largest are in the Northern slopes, where large valley glaciers form frequently. The largest glaciers are in Switzerland in the Bernese Alps, where there is also the largest Alpine glacier, the Aletschglätscher (24 km long, with a surface area of 170 km2, and a thickness of a little less than 900 m), in the Vallese Alps, where the largest glacier is the Gornerglätscher,  in the Monte Rosa mountain group,  and in the Rhetic Alps, where the most extended is the Morteratsch Glätscher, in the Bernina Group (Glätscher means glacier in German). Important glaciers are also to be found in the Mont  Blanc group, among which the famous Mer de Glace (sea of ice) one of the first glaciers ever to be studied , in Austria, in  Ötztal and in  Alti Tauri.

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From the Multimedia section

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    Exploring the ice

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    Scheme of glacial cave systems