While exploring the French Alps, a mountaineer discovered a lake at a very high altitude, which he described as “truly alarming”.
Bryan Mestre was climbing in the Mont Blanc range when he spotted the lake at an altitude of 11,000ft (3,400m).
It is believed that the lake is a result of glacial snow that melted during Europe’s intense heatwave at the end of June. The strange thing though, is that the lake wasn’t even there 10 days before he discovered it.
Mestre wrote in an Instagram post:
Time to sound the alarm… The problem here? These two pictures were taken only 10 days apart… It was taken earlier on June 28th, the second one was shared by Paul Todhunter.
Only 10 days of extreme heat were enough to collapse, melt and form a lake at the base of the Dent du Géant and the Aiguilles Marbrées That I know, this is the first time anything like that as ever happened.
Climate scientists have predicted Europe will face an increase in the frequency of heatwaves due to the shift of weather patterns, all because of global climate change.
However something as out of the ordinary as this really took Mestre, an experienced mountaineer, by surprise.
It was such a shock to see it because of how high up it was, well above the snow line, where bodies of water should not exist.
In an interview with IFLScience Mestre explained:
You’re supposed to find ice and snow at this altitude, not liquid water. Most of the time when we stay for a day at this altitude, the water in our water bottles starts freezing.
I have been up there a fair amount of times, in June, July and even August, and I have never seen liquid water up there, and I’m not only talking about Mt Blanc massif, I have been up dozens of [mountains] around the Alps.
During the hottest days, you may find snow melting, but that’s it.
The last time a lake was seen on the mountain was in 2015 when glaciologist Ludovic Ravanel spotted a much smaller one. He warned that the lake’s formation must have been linked to climate change but the situation seems to have got worse since then.