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Top of Europe: the Finsteraarhorn–Jungfrau glacier landscape


Zumbühl, Heinz J; Nussbaumer, Samuel U; Wipf, Andreas (2021). Top of Europe: the Finsteraarhorn–Jungfrau glacier landscape. In: Reynard, Emmanuel. Landscapes and landforms of Switzerland. Cham: Springer, 217-233.

Abstract

The Finsteraarhorn, the highest peak in the Bernese Alps, and the Jungfrau, renowned for its cog railway that attracts a high number of tourists each year, are together in the heart of a high mountain glacier landscape. The Unteraar Glacier with an east-oriented and extensively debris-covered tongue has, since the eighteen/nineteenth century, been the cradle of glacier research (e.g. L. Agassiz). In turn, Lower Grindelwald Glacier became historically the best-documented Swiss valley glacier, thanks to its accessible, low-altitude ice-front position. A wealth of high-quality depictions by top artists (e.g. C. Wolf and S. Birmann) have allowed the reconstruction of the Little Ice Age (LIA) glacier fluctuations in a uniquely precise way. The Upper Lauterbrunnen Valley, dominated on both sides by huge steep rock walls with a great number of waterfalls, hosts smaller glaciers and a collection of moraines in the valley bottom. Since the end of the LIA, all the glaciers have been melting back, with a dramatic increase in recent years. The Lower Grindelwald Glacier, for instance, shows a reduction of the ice volume by 50% since the end of the LIA. By the end of the twenty-firstc entury, the Finsteraarhorn–Jungfrau landscape will no longer exist in the form it has been renowned for over the last centuries.

Abstract

The Finsteraarhorn, the highest peak in the Bernese Alps, and the Jungfrau, renowned for its cog railway that attracts a high number of tourists each year, are together in the heart of a high mountain glacier landscape. The Unteraar Glacier with an east-oriented and extensively debris-covered tongue has, since the eighteen/nineteenth century, been the cradle of glacier research (e.g. L. Agassiz). In turn, Lower Grindelwald Glacier became historically the best-documented Swiss valley glacier, thanks to its accessible, low-altitude ice-front position. A wealth of high-quality depictions by top artists (e.g. C. Wolf and S. Birmann) have allowed the reconstruction of the Little Ice Age (LIA) glacier fluctuations in a uniquely precise way. The Upper Lauterbrunnen Valley, dominated on both sides by huge steep rock walls with a great number of waterfalls, hosts smaller glaciers and a collection of moraines in the valley bottom. Since the end of the LIA, all the glaciers have been melting back, with a dramatic increase in recent years. The Lower Grindelwald Glacier, for instance, shows a reduction of the ice volume by 50% since the end of the LIA. By the end of the twenty-firstc entury, the Finsteraarhorn–Jungfrau landscape will no longer exist in the form it has been renowned for over the last centuries.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Geology
Physical Sciences > Earth-Surface Processes
Language:English
Date:1 January 2021
Deposited On:25 Nov 2020 08:48
Last Modified:27 Jan 2022 03:17
Publisher:Springer
Series Name:World Geomorphological Landscapes
ISSN:2213-2104
ISBN:978-3-030-43201-0
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43203-4_15

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