Samstag, 12. Juli 2008

Sin flood

The Wildspitz, highest mountain in the Ötztaler Alps with 3772m, and the tongue of the Hintereis-glacier descending in the valley of Rofen

The mountain group of the Ötztaler Alps are one of the most studied sites in climatology and glaciers-history. Historic mention and description about local glaciers are known at least for the last 300 years.

The existence of ice-damned lakes in the Ötztaler Alps, which are the most strongly glaciated mountain group on the border Austria-Italy, has been well documented for the last 300 years, particularly from the Vernagtferner near Vent.
This glacier is famous for its repeated catastrophic advances, interpreted as surge-events. These surging advances damned the meltwater of nearby glaciers in the main valley, resulting in catastrophic floods which have been documented since 1600 A.D. and which caused heavy damage and loss of property, particularly in the years 1600, 1678, 1680, 1773, 1845, 1847 and 1848. The lake was called after the valley that branches from the Vernagt-valley “Lake Rofen (after the Rofen-valley)”.
Reconstructing of the glacier extent in the postglacial until the last highstand of 1850 (red lines). Note the tongue of the Vernagtferner protruding in the valley of Rofen (ca. 10°50`E and 46°50`N).

KRAINER & SPIELER (1999): The sedimentary record of ice-damned lakes in the Ötztal Alps (Austria). Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie. Bd.35(1)