Bessanese high-elevation experimental site - Italy
Bessanese high-elevation experimental site
Bessanese experimental site
The Bessanese high-elevation experimental site is located in the Western European Alps (Graian Alps, municipality of Balme, Italy). This site is representative of the glacial and periglacial environments of the Alps. In this site, glaciers have been the main morphogenetic agent: the head of the basin hosts a well-developed glacial cirque, while the LIA has left an imposing moraine on the left side of the glacier as an indelible mark in the landscape. Additional cryogenic and atmospheric processes, running waters and gravity have contributed to shape the study area. These latter processes are becoming more and more important, compared to glacier shaping, in the present context of climate change, which led to an impressive-areal and volume reduction of the glacier. Most of the area once occupied by the glacier is now covered with debris which, in many cases, is ice-cored, or contains ice lenses. Downstream of the main lake of the basin, located at an elevation of about 2580 m, the debris forms a large and characteristic rock glacier. Among gravitative processes, rockfalls are particularly common and relevant from the hazard point of view in the study area.
General Characteristics and Status