21 Sep '12, 9pm

Dot Earth Blog: Glacier Retreat Prompts Vatican Approval of New Alpine Ice Prayer: Swiss villagers convince the

In 1818, the farmers who ranged cattle on the steep mountainsides above Brig, a small town in southern Switzerland, organized a religious procession to deter a looming catastrophe. They marched from the church up a steep valley to the Aletsch, the largest glacier in the Alps. The 16-mile-long river of ice, 3,000 feet deep at its center, was fed by the endless snows falling on the two-mile-high ramparts of the Aletschhorn, Jungfrau, Munch, and adjacent peaks. Through more than a century of unusually cold weather, glaciers throughout Europe had been advancing steadily, and now the great, grinding mass of the Aletsch was uprooting a forest and threatening to overwhelm the farmers’ summer cottages and cow pastures. Priests led the way to the glacier’s gravel-encrusted snout. They prayed for divine intervention. A tall wooden cross was planted in the earth to turn back the ice....

Full article: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/glacier-retr...

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In 1818, the farmers who ranged cattle on the steep mountainsides above Brig, a small town in southern Switzerland, organi...

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dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com 21 Sep '12, 9pm

In 1818, the farmers who ranged cattle on the steep mountainsides above Brig, a small town in southern Switzerland, organi...