|Mer de Glace|
|Sea of Ice|
|Location||Northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif|
|Length||7.5 km (4.7 mi); 12 km (7.5 mi) total length.|
The Mer de Glace ("Sea of Ice") is a valley glacier located on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif, in the French Alps. It is 7.5 km long and 200 metres (660 ft) deep but, when all its tributary glaciers are taken into account, it can be regarded as the longest and largest glacier in France, and the second longest in the Alps after the Aletsch Glacier. :5,20
I can no otherwise convey to you an image of this body of ice, broken into irregular ridges and deep chasms than by comparing it to waves instantaneously frozen in the midst of a violent storm.— William Coxe 1777
The glacier lies above the Chamonix valley. The pressure within the ice is known to reach at least 30 atmospheres. 2,100 metres (6,900 ft), just north of the Aiguille du Tacul, where it is formed by the confluence of the Glacier de Leschaux and the Glacier du Tacul. The former is fed by the Glacier du Talefre, whilst the latter is, in turn, fed by the Glacier des Periardes, the vast Glacier du Géant and the broad icefields of the Vallee Blanche. The Glacier du Tacul supplies much more ice than the Glacier de Leschaux. :20The Mer de Glace can be considered as originating at an elevation of
However, if the Mer de Glace is considered in its broadest sense (i.e. from source to tongue), it is a compound valley glacier, gaining ice from snowfields that cover the heights directly north of Mont Blanc at an altitude of around 4,000 metres. It flows for a total distance of 12 kilometres, covering an area of 32 square kilometres in the central third of the Mont Blanc massif. 6,21:
From the Aiguille du Tacul, the Mer de Glace flows north-north-west between Aiguille du Moine on the east and Trélaporte on the west. It descends below Montenvers, at which point it is approximately 0.5 km wide, and descends to approximately 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). The glacier was once easily visible from Chamonix but has been shrinking backwards, and is now barely visible from below. :20 The surface topography of the Mer de Glace changed very little during the first third of the 20th century, but from 1939 to 2001 the surface of the glacier has lowered an average of 30 cm each year, corresponding to an equivalent loss of 700 million cubic metres of water. :126
When the tension in the ice increases as the slope increases, the glacier is unable to deform and crevasses appear. These are notably transversal and, when there is intense crevasse activity on the steepest terrain, blocks of seracs appear as the glacier breaks up. Crevasses are of variable depth, depending on their position, and may be as deep as fifty metres. Seracs always form in the same places, namely the steepest sections over which the glacier flows. As crevasses open and seracs tumble downstream, the supply of ice is renewed by the constant flow from upstream. Broad banding patterns, visible on the surface of the Mer de Glace, are known as ogives, or Forbes bands, and result from differences in summer and winter collapse rates of the serac fields. It was on 24 July 1842 that Scottish physicist James David Forbes observed the pattern of light and dark dirt bands on the Mer de Glace from the nearby Charmoz and began to consider whether glaciers flowed in a similar fashion to a sluggish river and with a viscous or plastic manner.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the glacier descended all the way down to the hamlet of Les Bois,where it was known as Glacier des Bois. At that time the river Arveyron emerged from the glacier under a grotto-like vault (grotte d'Arveyron) and, through the accounts of early writers and explorers, attracted many more visitors, painters and later photographers, for example Joseph Mallord William Turner's "Source of the Arveron in the Valley of Chamouni Savoy", 1816. The position of its front end fluctuated over the years but its maximum extent was in the mid-19th century.
24 july 1842 glacier mer de glace.
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe, rising 4,808 m (15,774 ft) above sea level. It is the second-highest and second-most prominent mountain in Europe, after Mount Elbrus, and it is the eleventh most prominent mountain summit in the world. The mountain stands between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, France. It gives its name to the Mont Blanc massif, which itself forms part of a larger range referred to as the Graian Alps. The location of the summit of Mont Blanc is on the watershed line between the valleys of Ferret and Veny in Italy and the valleys of Montjoie, and Arve in France, on the border between the two countries. Ownership of the summit area has long been a subject of historical dispute between the two countries.
The higher region of the Alps were long left to the exclusive attention of the inhabitants of the adjoining valleys, even when Alpine travellers began to visit these valleys. It is reckoned that about 20 glacier passes were certainly known before 1600, about 25 more before 1700, and yet another 20 before 1800; but though the attempt of P.A. Arnod in 1689 to "re-open" the Col du Ceant may be counted as made by a non-native, historical records do not show any further such activities until the last quarter of the 18th century. Nor did it fare much better with the high peaks, though the two earliest recorded ascents were due to non-natives, that of the Rocciamelone in 1358 having been undertaken in fulfilment of a vow, and that of the Mont Aiguille in 1492 by order of Charles VIII of France, in order to destroy its immense reputation for inaccessibility – in 1555 Conrad Gesner did not climb Pilatus proper, but only the grassy mound of the Gnepfstein, the lowest and the most westerly of the seven summits.
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, more commonly known as Chamonix, is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France. It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924. In 2017, it had a population of 8,611.
The French Alps are the portions of the Alps mountain range that stand within France, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions. While some of the ranges of the French Alps are entirely in France, others, such as the Mont Blanc massif, are shared with Switzerland and Italy.
ArgentièreFrench pronunciation: [aʁʒɑ̃tjɛʁ] is a picturesque skiing, alpine walking and mountaineering village in the French Alps, part of the commune of Chamonix Mont Blanc, at an altitude of 1,252 m (4,108 ft).
The Aiguille du Midi is a 3,842-metre-tall (12,605 ft) mountain in the Mont Blanc massif within the French Alps. It is a popular tourist destination and can be directly accessed by cable car from Chamonix that takes visitors close to Mont Blanc.
Jacques Balmat, called Balmat du Mont Blanc (1762–1834) was a mountaineer, a Savoyard mountain guide, born in the Chamonix valley in Savoy, at this time part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
The Mont Blanc massif is a mountain range in the Alps, located mostly in France and Italy, but also straddling Switzerland at its northeastern end. It contains eleven major independent summits, each over 4,000 metres (13,123 ft) in height. It is named after Mont Blanc, the highest point in western Europe and the European Union. Because of its considerable overall altitude, a large proportion of the massif is covered by glaciers, which include the Mer de Glace and the Miage Glacier – the longest glaciers in France and Italy, respectively.
The Bossons Glacier is one of the larger glaciers of the Mont Blanc massif of the Alps, found in the Chamonix valley of Haute-Savoie département, south-eastern France. It is fed from icefields lying on the northern side of Mont Blanc, and descends down close to the Aiguille du Midi and ends on the southern side of the Arve valley, close to the town of Chamonix. It has the largest altitudinal drop of all the alpine glaciers in Europe, and formerly extended much further down the valley than it does today. It is now approximately 7.5 km long, with a surface area of approximately 10 km².
Pointe Helbronner is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the Graian Alps on the watershed between France and Italy.
The Cosmiques Hut is a mountain hut in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps at an altitude of 3,613 m. It is a large structure capable of accommodating 148 mountaineers. It was constructed in 1990 on a rock promontory situated between the Col du Midi and the base of the Cosmiques Arête which descends southwards from the Aiguille du Midi. It gives access to a number of classic alpine mountaineering routes, and has proved to be extremely popular with mountaineers, so much so that in the summer months prior booking a few days beforehand is essential in order to secure a bed. The Hut is wardened between mid-February and mid-October. In winter the nearby Abri Simond Hut is left unlocked, although this has no cooking facilities, heating or water.
The Leschaux Hut is a refuge in the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps. It is located at 2,431 m on the north side of the Glacier de Leschaux – a tributary of the Mer de Glace. It is owned by the CAF and can accommodate up to 19 people. The hut is used as a base by mountaineers climbing peaks such as Grandes Jorasses, Petites Jorasses and Mont Mallet. It is accessed by going up the Mer de Glace from Montenvers, and then up the Glacier de Leschaux. The first refuge was built in 1929. It was enlarged to 30 seats in 1934, but destroyed by an avalanche in 1954. A new hut was built in 1968 and was enlarged in 2003.
The Torino Hut is a high mountain refuge in the Alps in northwestern Italy. Located near the border with France, it is about 15 km (10 mi) southwest of Mont Dolent, the tripoint with Switzerland. The refuge is in the Mont Blanc massif above the town of Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley, Italy. It can be most easily accessed from the Italian side by the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car from La Palud in Courmayeur, with a change at the Pavilion du Mont Fréty. It can also be reached from Chamonix via the Aiguille du Midi, either by cable car which crosses the massif, or by a long crossing of the Glacier du Gèant. The refuge lies nearly directly above the 11.6 km (7.2 mi) Mont Blanc Tunnel, which passes deep underground, and connects Courmayer to Chamonix.
The Tête Rousse Glacier is a small but significant glacier located in the Mont Blanc massif within the French Alps whose collapse in 1892 killed 200 people in the town of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.
The Miage Glacier is a debris-covered glacier in the upper Aosta Valley, in northwestern Italy.
Jean-Marc Boivin was a French mountaineer, extreme skier, hang glider and paraglider pilot, speleologist, BASE jumper, film maker and author. The holder of several altitude records for hang gliding and paragliding, the creator of numerous first ascents and first ski descents in the Alps, a member of the team that broke the record for a sub-glacial dive and the first person to paraglide from the summit of Mount Everest, Boivin was a pioneer of extreme sports. He died from injuries incurred after BASE jumping off Angel Falls in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world.
Glacier Montanvert was the common name in the 18th century for a portion of the Alps glacier, now known as Mer de Glace, on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif. Alternative spellings of Montanvert include Montainvert and Montvers. The Glacier Montanvert was a popular tourist destination of European travellers and is referenced in numerous travel writings and novels of the time.
Venance Payot was a naturalist, glaciologist, alpine mountain-guide, scholar, author, and two-time mayor of Chamonix, France. He published a wide range of early scientific literature relating to the mountains of the Mont Blanc massif and undertook some of the earliest continued measurements of the movement of glaciers within that mountain range. He has been posthumously credited in mountaineering literature with being the youngest person to have climbed Mont Blanc, and would have been sixteen years old at the time; other sources have challenged this.
The Géant Glacier is a large glacier on the French side of the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps. It is the main supplier of ice to the Mer de Glace which flows down towards Montenvers. It gets its name from the nearby Dent du Géant.
The Brenva Glacier is a valley glacier, located on the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps. It is the second longest and eighth largest glacier in Italy, and descends down into Val Veny, close to Entrèves, near Courmayeur. Over the centuries it has experienced a number of major rock avalanches which have shaped the glacier and influenced its movement.
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