A glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight, it forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. Glaciers slowly deform and flow due to stresses induced by their weight, creating crevasses and they abrade rock and debris from their substrate to create landforms such as cirques and moraines. Glaciers form only on land and are distinct from the much thinner sea ice, between 35°N and 35°S, glaciers occur only in the Himalayas, Rocky Mountains, a few high mountains in East Africa, New Guinea and on Zard Kuh in Iran. Glaciers cover about 10 percent of Earths land surface, continental glaciers cover nearly 13,000,000 km2 or about 98 percent of Antarcticas 13,200,000 km2, with an average thickness of 2,100 m. Greenland and Patagonia have huge expanses of continental glaciers, Glacial ice is the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth. Within high altitude and Antarctic environments, the temperature difference is often not sufficient to release meltwater. A large piece of compressed ice, or a glacier, appears blue as large quantities of water appear blue and this is because water molecules absorb other colors more efficiently than blue.
The other reason for the color of glaciers is the lack of air bubbles. Air bubbles, which give a color to ice, are squeezed out by pressure increasing the density of the created ice. The word Glaceon is a loanword from French and goes back, via Franco-Provençal, to the Vulgar Latin glaciārium, derived from the Late Latin glacia, the processes and features caused by or related to glaciers are referred to as glacial. The process of establishment and flow is called glaciation. The corresponding area of study is called glaciology, Glaciers are important components of the global cryosphere. Glaciers are categorized by their morphology, thermal characteristics, and behavior, cirque glaciers form on the crests and slopes of mountains. A glacier that fills a valley is called a valley glacier, a large body of glacial ice astride a mountain, mountain range, or volcano is termed an ice cap or ice field. Ice caps have a less than 50,000 km2 by definition. Glacial bodies larger than 50,000 km2 are called ice sheets or continental glaciers, several kilometers deep, they obscure the underlying topography.
Only nunataks protrude from their surfaces, the only extant ice sheets are the two that cover most of Antarctica and Greenland. They contain vast quantities of water, enough that if both melted, global sea levels would rise by over 70 m
The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4000 metres, the altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe, in the mountains precipitation levels vary greatly and climatic conditions consist of distinct zones. Wildlife such as live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era, a mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991. By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established, Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, and the Romans had settlements in the region.
In 1800 Napoleon crossed one of the passes with an army of 40,000. The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists, writers, in World War II, Adolf Hitler kept a base of operation in the Bavarian Alps throughout the war. The Alpine region has a cultural identity. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, French, at present, the region is home to 14 million people and has 120 million annual visitors. The English word Alps derives from the Latin Alpes, maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator of Virgil, says in his commentary that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts. The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp and this may be consistent with the theory that in Greek Alpes is a name of non-Indo-European origin. According to the Old English Dictionary, the Latin Alpes might possibly derive from a pre-Indo-European word *alb hill, Albania, a name not native to the region known as the country of Albania, has been used as a name for a number of mountainous areas across Europe.
In Roman times, Albania was a name for the eastern Caucasus, in modern languages the term alp, albe or alpe refers to a grazing pastures in the alpine regions below the glaciers, not the peaks. An alp refers to a mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found. The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km arc from east to west and is 200 km in width, the mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km. The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po basin, extending through France from Grenoble, the range continues onward toward Vienna and east to the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. To the south it dips into northern Italy and to the north extends to the border of Bavaria in Germany
The Dent Blanche is a mountain in the Pennine Alps, lying in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. With its 4,357 metres -high summit, it is one of the highest peaks in the Alps, the original name was probably Dent dHérens, the actual name of the nearby Dent dHérens which does not overlook the Val dHérens. The nearby north face of the Dent dHérens is glaciated while the Dent Blanche holds much less snow, in fact on older maps, in the area where lie both summits, only the name Weisszahnhorn was indicated, the French name appearing in 1820 only. The actual names are official since the completion of the Dufour map in 1862, the summit of Dent Blanche is an important geographic place as it is the converging point of three ridges. The three valleys separated by them are the Val dHérens, Val dAnniviers and Mattertal, the respective villages of Evolène, Zinal and Zermatt lie approximatively at the same distance of the mountain. The four ridges encompass almost exactly the four cardinal directions, the west ridge is named Arête de Ferpècle and the east ridge is named Arête des Quatre Ânes.
The Col de la Dent Blanche lies at the foot of the northern ridge, the Dent Blanche Hut lies at the foot of the southern ridge which is used as the normal route. The region around Dent Blanche consists of many 4000 metres peaks, the Ober Gabelhorn, Dent dHérens and Matterhorn are the closest high summits. The first ascent was made via the ridge, which is the less difficult route to the summit. On 12 July 1862, T. S. Kennedy, after an attempt on the east face of the unconquered Matterhorn, almost reached the summit with the guides Peter Taugwalder, but after a minor accident, Peter Taugwalder refused to go any higher. Kennedy would finally reach the only a few days later, on July 18,1862 with W. Wigram, J. Croz and J. Konig. A route on the west ridge was opened on 11 August 1882 by John Stafford Anderson and G. P. Baker, with guides Alois Pollinger of St. Niklaus in the canton Valais and Ulrich Almer. They started from the Mountet Hut and arrived at the summit after a difficult 12 hours climbing on a ridge overlooking the north face.
As Almer said on the summit, We are four asses, the north ridge was explored in 1899. On 28 August O. G. Jones, F. W. Hill with guides E. Furrer, zurbriggen and J. Vuignier headed to the summit but they fell and only Hill survived. He reached alone the summit and a storm forced him to make a bivouac and he could report the news of the fatal accident in Zermatt only two days later. The first ascent of the face is attributed to K. Schneider. They climbed from the part at the base of the face to the summit
Castor is a mountain in the Pennine Alps on the border between Valais and the Aosta Valley in Italy. It is the higher of a pair of peaks, the other being Pollux. Castors peak is at an elevation of 4,223 m and it is separated from Pollux by a pass at 3,847 m, named Passo di Verra in Italian and Zwillingsjoch in German. Ascents are usually made from the alpine hut Capanna Quintino Sella on the Italian side, by means of the Felikjoch, from the Swiss side, ascents start from Klein Matterhorn and go by way of the Italian glacier Grand Glacier of Verra and the mountains west flank. The first ascent was made on August 23,1861, Castor and Pollux are a pair of summits in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA. Located in the Absaroka Range, Castor is 3,308 m,65 m lower than its twin
The Fiescher Glacier is a valley glacier on the south side of the Bernese Alps in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. 16 km in length, it is the second longest glacier in the Alps, the glacier covers an area of 33 km2. In the lower section, the Fiescher Glacier flows south through a valley between the Gross Wannenhorn and the Wasenhorn. In summer, when the snow melts, it has a grey colour as it is covered with rocks coming from the steep slopes of the mountains around. The end of glacier tongue is at around 1,700 m above sea level and this glacier is not to be confused with the like-named Grindelwald-Fieschergletscher on the north of the Fiescherhörner located near Grindelwald
The Matter Valley is located in southwestern Switzerland, south of the Rhone valley in the canton of Valais. The village of Zermatt is the most important settlement of the valley, located in the Pennine Alps, the Matter Valley is drained by the Matter Vispa, a tributary of the Rhone. The valley itself ends at Stalden where it meets the Saas Valley, the resulting Visp Valley continues for a few kilometres until it reaches the town of Visp on the young river Rhone. The valley starts between the high summits south of Zermatt on the border with Italy. The upper side is glaciated, the second largest glacier of the Alps, around the village of Randa are located the Weisshorn and the Dom. The difference of height between the talweg and the summits on both side reaches over 3 km, the total length of the valley is about 40 km. 5,600 inhabitants, is the largest and highest town in the valley, St. Niklaus follows with 2,400 inhabitants. Between them are located the villages of Täsch and Randa. The villages of Grächen, Embd and Törbel are located above the valley, located at the end of the valley, is the lowest village.
Since the end of the century the upper end of the valley is connected by rail from Visp. If the main road connect Zermatt from Visp, it cannot be used between Täsch and Zermatt, the latter being completely car-free, since 1930 the valley is directly connected to St. Moritz by the Glacier Express panoramic train
The Gornergrat is a rocky ridge of the Pennine Alps, overlooking the Gorner Glacier south-east of Zermatt in Switzerland. It can be reached from Zermatt by the Gornergrat rack railway and it is located about three kilometers east of Zermatt in the Swiss canton of Valais. This is the last stop of the Gornergrat train, opened in 1898, at the terminus on the south-western tip of the ridge is a hotel. The station forms part of the Zermatt ski area, at the west side of the Gorner Ridge, nearby the Rotenboden railway station is the peak Riffelhorn. Gornergratbahn Riffelalptram List of mountains of Switzerland accessible by public transport Media related to Gornergrat at Wikimedia Commons
Monte Rosa Hut
It is owned by the Swiss Alpine Club SAC. The hut is the start of the route to the summit. The first hut was built in 1894–1895 just next to the much higher Border Glacier at an altitude of 2,795 metres. A completely new building was inaugurated in 2009, a hi-tech, energy-wise almost self-sufficient, the Monte Rosa Hut lies on the western side of Monte Rosa massif, on the place named Untere Plattje. The hut can be reached using the Gornergratbahn, from the station Rotenboden a trail leads to the Gorner Glacier. Then the Gornergletscher has to be crossed, over the end of the Grenzgletscher. The first hut, known under the name Betemps hut, was built between 1894 and 1895 and it had 25 beds and was owned by the Swiss Alpine Club central committee. The hut was enlarged in 1918 to host 20 more people, the Betemps hut was offered to the Monte Rosa section in 1929 transformed and renamed Monte Rosa hut. Between 1939-1940 a new hut with 86 beds was built, the capacity was raised up to 146 in 1972 and 160 in 1984.
A new hi-tech environmentally friendly mountain hut was designed by architect Andrea Deplazes of ETH Zurich, the project of the Swiss Alpine Club, to mark the 150th anniversary of ETH Zurich, was launched in 2003. The construction materials prefabricated elements were transported by train to Zermatt and 3,000 helicopter trips were needed to take 35 workers, the five-story polygonal building was built on stainless steel foundations with a spiral interior made out of wood, the exterior being covered with an aluminum shell. The building is designed to obtain 90 percent of its needs from the sun. Excess energy is stored in valve-regulated lead-acid accumulators, which supply power when it is overcast, water is collected from melting glaciers and stored in a large reservoir 40 meters above the hut. Bands of windows allow the sun to heat air inside the building with the redistribution of thermal energy produced by visitors. Over the next few years the hut will become a station for the students from the ETH Zurich.
They will use it to investigate how to use energy and resources efficiently, self-Sufficient Building in the High Alps Zurich, gta,2010. ISBN 978-3-85676-274-2 Futuristic eco-hut opens doors above Zermatt, swissinfo Official website Monte Rosa Hut on SummitPost. org
The Swiss Alps extend over both the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps, encompassing an area sometimes called Central Alps. The Swiss Alps comprise almost all the highest mountains of the Alps, such as Dufourspitze, the Dom, the Liskamm, the Weisshorn, the other following major summits can be found in this list of mountains of Switzerland. Since the Middle Ages, transit across the Alps played an important role in history, the region north of St Gotthard Pass became the nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century. The Alps cover 65% of Switzerlands total 41,285 square kilometres surface area, making it one of the most alpine countries. The glaciers of the Swiss Alps cover an area of 1,220 square kilometres — 3% of the Swiss territory, the Swiss Alps are situated south of the Swiss Plateau and north of the national border. The limit between the Alps and the runs from Vevey on the shores of Lake Geneva to Rorschach on the shores of Lake Constance, passing close to the cities of Thun.
The not well defined regions in Switzerland that lie on the margin of the Alps, the Swiss Prealps are mainly made of limestone and they generally do not exceed 2,500 metres. The Alpine cantons are Valais, Graubünden, Glarus, Ticino, St. Gallen, Obwalden, Schwyz, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Fribourg and Zug. The countries with which Switzerland shares mountain ranges of the Alps are, Italy, the Alps are usually divided into two main parts, the Western Alps and Eastern Alps, whose division is along the Rhine from Lake Constance to the Splügen Pass. The western ranges occupy the greatest part of Switzerland while the more numerous eastern ranges are smaller and are all situated in the canton of Graubünden. The latter are part of the Central Eastern Alps, except the Ortler Alps which belong to the Southern Limestone Alps, the Pennine and Bernina Range are the highest ranges of the country, they contain respectively 38,9 and 1 summit over 4000 metres. The lowest range is the Appenzell Alps culminating at 2,500 metres, Western Alps Eastern Alps The north side of the Swiss Alps is drained by the Rhône, Rhine and Inn while the south side is mainly drained by the Ticino.
The rivers on the empty into the Mediterranean and Black Sea. The major triple watersheds in the Alps are located within the country, they are, Piz Lunghin, Witenwasserenstock, between the Witenwasserenstock and Piz Lunghin runs the European Watershed separating the basin of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. The European watershed lies in fact only partially on the main chain, Switzerland possesses 6% of Europes fresh water, and is sometimes referred to as the water tower of Europe. Since the highest dams are located in Alpine regions, many mountain lakes are artificial and are used as hydroelectric reservoirs. Some large artificial lakes can be found above 2,300 m, the melting of low-altitude glaciers can generate new lakes, such as the 0.25 km² large Triftsee which formed between 2002–2003. The following table gives the area above 2000 m and 3000 m
Zmutt is a small village in the municipality of Zermatt, Switzerland, situated at 1936 m in the Zmutt Valley west of Zermatt. The village chapel is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, patroness of the Valais, the valley passes the northern slope of the Matterhorn and terminates in the Zmutt Glacier on the border to Italys Aosta Valley. The Zmutt dam at 46°0′28″N 7°42′34″E, constructed in 1964, has a height of 74 m and this dam is fed by waters from the Bis and Gorner Glacier
Randa is a municipality in the district of Visp in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. It is located between the Weisshorn and the Dom in the Matter Valley, Randa is first mentioned in 1305 as Randa. In 1819, the village was almost totally destroyed by the blast from an avalanche that fell nearby. In 1991, a portion of the village was flooded following a rockslide from a cliff above the town. The village is popular for tourists wishing to visit the area, as it is reachable by car and rail, and has a campsite which offers a service to Zermatt. The train-line, known as the Glacier Express connects to Zermatt offering visitors many ways to access the town, Randa has an area, as of 2011, of 54.5 square kilometers. Of this area,8. 0% is used for agricultural purposes, of the rest of the land,0. 6% is settled and 81. 5% is unproductive land. The municipality is located in the Visp district, in the Matter valley and it consists of the village of Randa and the hamlets of Lerch and Attermänze. The blazon of the coat of arms is Divided by a Bend Argent, Gules a Mullet of the First.
Randa has a population of 446, as of 2008,22. 7% of the population are resident foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has changed at a rate of -9. 7% and it has changed at a rate of -3. 5% due to migration and at a rate of -2. 8% due to births and deaths. Most of the population speaks German as their first language, Albanian is the second most common, there is 1 person who speaks French,1 person who speaks Italian. As of 2008, the population was 46. 7% male and 53. 3% female, the population was made up of 133 Swiss men and 50 non-Swiss men. There were 160 Swiss women and 49 non-Swiss women, of the population in the municipality,240 or about 59. 4% were born in Randa and lived there in 2000. There were 51 or 12. 6% who were born in the canton, while 26 or 6. 4% were born somewhere else in Switzerland. As of 2000, children and teenagers make up 27. 7% of the population, while adults make up 59. 7%, as of 2000, there were 195 people who were single and never married in the municipality.
There were 188 married individuals,16 widows or widowers and 5 individuals who are divorced, as of 2000, there were 146 private households in the municipality, and an average of 2.8 persons per household. There were 40 households that consist of one person and 22 households with five or more people
The Theodul Glacier is a glacier of the Alps, located south of Zermatt in the canton of Valais. It lies on the Swiss side of the Pennine Alps, although its upper basin touches the Italian region of the Aosta Valley, both branches are part of the Rhone basin, through the rivers Gornera and Vispa. Slightly above the glacier splitting is the Theodul Pass, crossing the border between Switzerland and Italy, and connecting Zermatt to Breuil-Cervinia, on the west, the Theodul Glacier is overlooked by the Matterhorn. Until about 1980s the Lower Theodul Glacier was still connected to the Gorner Glacier, the upper section of the Theodul Glacier consists of a flat plateau at around 3,800 metres, named Breithorn Plateau. The plateau lies between the Breithorn, the Gobba di Rollin and the Klein Matterhorn, the Breithorn Pass separates the Breithorn from the Gobba di Rollin. A3,795 m high saddle lies between the Gobba di Rollin and the Klein Matterhorn, between the Klein Matterhorn and the Breithorn is a distinct glacier, named Klein Matterhorn Gletscher, which joins the Lower Theodul Glacier at about 3,000 metres.
The Breithorn Plateau area can be accessed by several cable cars connecting Zermatt to the Klein Matterhorn. At around 3,500 metres is the Plateau Rosa, whose name derives from the Valdôtain patois term Rosà and this area lies between Testa Grigia and the Klein Matterhorn, south of and slightly above the Theodul Pass. Southeast of Testa Grigia is a saddle named Passo di Ventina Nord and this area can be easily accessed by several cable cars connecting Breuil-Cervinia to Testa Grigia. Most of the glacier is part of the ski area marketed as Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It is the highest in Europe and largest summer ski area in the world, the culminating point is on the summit of Gobba di Rollin and the lowest is above Trockener Steg. The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise links the ski areas of Zermatt and Breuil-Cervina, ski lifts connect Trockener Steg, Theodul Pass, Testa Grigia, Klein Matterhorn and Gobba di Rollin. A chair lift connects Trockener Steg to the Furggsattel, north of the Theodul Pass, several lakes recently formed at the bottom of the Upper Theodul Glacier, west of Trockener Steg.
The largest, named Theodulgletschersee is 7.76 ha wide and it is the highest lake over 4 ha in Switzerland and the largest lake in the Matter Valley. The second-largest, named Furggsee is 2.57 ha wide and lies at 2,874 metres