October 17, 2013
Glacier du Mont Miné Retreat, Swizterland
Posted by Mauri Pelto
Glacier du Mont Miné is an 8 km long alpine glacier that drains into the Rhone River. The runoff from this glacier is heavily tapped for hydropower, for example Compagnie Nationale du Rhône has 19 hydropower plants on the river. The Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network measures the terminus position of this glacier each year, graph below. The glacier experienced a period of minor advance from 1971-1989, followed by a retreat of 600 m from 1989-2011.
Annual terminus change Glcier du Mont Mine, from Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network
Glacier du Mont Miné, Google Earth image 2009
The advance moraine emplaced by the 1971-1989 advance is indicated by a yellow arrow in each image, a pink dot indicates the actual terminus at the time of the image. In the 1988 Landsat image Glacier du Mont Miné is in an advance position in contact with the moraine at the end of a small lake that is quickly being infilled with sediment. By 1999, Landsat image, the glacier has retreated out of the low lying basin below 2000 m. In 2011 and 2012 the glacier has pulled into its own valley having retreated 600 meters from 1988. The terminus is quite thin in the 2009 Google Earth image, yellow arrow indicates 1989 advance moraine, red arrow current debris covered terminus. The lower 300 m of the glacier is thin and stagnant, note depressions indicated by pink arrows. There is an icefall 2 km above the terminus, green arrow that is now detached from the glacier below. It still contributes mass via avalanching, but the lower terminus tongue will not survive long term without direct icefall connection. The retreat is similar to that of Gietro Glacier, Ried Glacier and Triftgletscher.
1988 Landsat image