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A large deposit of buried ice discovered in Carnia

12 February, 2019

The results of the research that led to the discovery of a large deposit of buried ice not far from Sauris, in the province of Udine, have been published in Geomorphology, an international scientific journal published by Elsevier.
In the research group also Emanuele Forte and Carlotta Zanettini of the Department of Mathematics and Geosciences of the University of Trieste, together with colleagues from the University of Udine, Insubria of Varese and the University of Aberystwyth, in Wales, led by Renato R. Colucci of Cnr-Ismar, professor of glaciology at UniTS.

The team has been involved in research and analysis lasting several years, and engaged in analysis and field measurements, complex geoelectric, geomorphological, micrometeorological and geophysical surveys. Thanks to the application of 3D and GIS reconstruction algorithms, the discovery: a hidden glacier near Sauris, at an altitude of 1,800 meters on the plateau of Casera Razzo, in Carnia.

From a depth of about 8 m from the surface, in fact, there is a body of ice mixed with debris. Currently it has a volume of about 1-1.5 million cubic meters but it has been estimated that in maximum activity the volume should be between 2.4 and 3.7 million cubic meters.
What was believed to be just a rock glacier (this is its technical name) wreck, i.e. without any more presence of ice inside, was therefore revealed to be a Rock Glacier intact or with still large amounts of ice: a rocky glacier still preserved under debris and sediment despite the climate change taking place.

The discovery revolutionizes the investigations carried out on a global scale and on a large scale on these devices because it shows how even morphologies apparently no longer active with above vegetation and trees, as in the case of the rock glacier casera Rocket, can preserve large amounts of ice and thus act as important reservoirs of water.

Editorial information:
Is that a relict rock glacier?
Renato R.Colucci, Emanuele Forte, Manja Žebre, Eleonora Maset, Carlotta Zanettini, Mauro Guglielmin
PhD. Emanuele Forte
Assistant Professor
University of Trieste, Dept. of Mathematics and Geosciences
tel. +39 040 5582271