A first indication that ancient ice was still present in the Tyrolean Alps arose from the 1991 discovery of the famous ~5200 years old Tyrolean Ice Man who emerged from the low elevation ablating ice field of the Hauslabjoch (3210 m) located ~30 km from Mt. Ortles, the highest mountain in South Tyrol, in the Italian Eastern Alps. This discovery provided an exceptional time window into our past history, focusing on how humans were interacting with the Alpine environment in the Neolithic and how rapid climate change may have affected their life, also contributing to bury the Tyrolean Ice Man first in snow and then in ice.
An unprecedented change in the Ortles glacier
After two years of study of the highest glacier of South Tyrol and the Eastern Alps, the researchers present their results.
These are geologists, climatologists, and medical doctors from more than 20 different institutions from around the world. In common they have their source of research information. During 2011 they were involved in a scientific expedition on Mt. Ortles to gather information and study this glacier, climate and the high altitude environment.
Two years after the expedition the project partners have met in a workshop that was held on September the 10th at EURAC in Bolzano (Italy). They have presented results of the principal studies, evaluated new research perspectives and possible collaborations.
In 2012, the investigations on permafrost and ice boreholes were mainly focused on the retrieving of the instrumental data and the maintenance of the instrumentation. These activities were coordinated by the University of Pavia (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) and the Office for Geology and Building Materials Testing of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano with the cooperation of the Ohio State University (Byrd Polar Research Center), the University of Padova (Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry and Department of Geosciences), the Hydrographic Office of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano and the University of Venezia (Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics).
Pochi giorni fa si è conclusa la seconda edizione del Campus di Glaciologia 2012 realizzato dai dipartimenti istruzione di lingua italiana e tedesca della Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano.
22 studenti di entrambe le lingue, appartenenti a 11 differenti scuole della provincia di Bolzano, hanno trascorso 5 giorni (dal 17 al 22 Settembre) molto intensi e fatti di incontri con ricercatori, guide e responsabili del Parco dello Stelvio, escursioni sul territorio e laboratori didattici con lo scopo di conoscere da vicino natura, ruolo e metodi di studio dei ghiacciai.
La sede di svolgimento del Campus è stata l’Hotel Franzehohe situato a pochi chilometri dal Passo dello Stelvio sul versante di Bolzano. Il programma del corso ha permesso agli studenti di seguire una presentazione del Dott Gabrielli (Coordinatore scientifico del progetto Ortles) che ha parlato via Skype dagli Stati Uniti. L’escursione si è svolta sul Ghiacciaio di Solda, con l’ausilio di guide alpine e istruttori, ed ha permesso agli studenti di raggiungere la Cima Solda.
Il prossimo appuntamento è dal 22 al 24 Ottobre 2012 presso l’EURAC (Bolzano) dove si svolgeranno le giornate della Scienza. In quell’occasione gli studenti parleranno della loro esperienza.
Almost three months have passed since the “hot” phase of the Ortler project, meaning those three weeks in September and October 2011, when an international research team extracted for the very first time an ice core from the bottom of the summit of the Ortler glacier in the Eastern Alps. This happened four times: the team was able to extract a 75 metre ice core three times and a 60 metre core once.
During that same period some 20 high school students from the surrounding area got involved through educational activities organised by the same researchers. The goal was to bring teachers and students to the place where the research was taking place – and while it was ongoing – in order to allow them to “witness” the research.
One – nil!
This is the result of the match currently being played between researchers and nature on the “pitch” located on the Ortler glacier, at 3,850 metres.Yesterday the perforation system reached 74 metres depth and extracted an ice core from the glacial soil, the part that lies directly on the rock. This can clearly be proven by the fact that the lower glacier layer contains rock fragments.