The glacieret in the pothole of Mt. Amaro
The glacieret in the pothole of Mt. Amaro (2795 m.) is situated on the Majella, on a plane which can be found at the entrance of the Cannella Valley, between Mt. Amaro and the peak of the Tre Portoni. It occupies the pit of a sunken karstic hole (dolina), with a circular shaped ponor, situated at about 2600 m. of altitude.
“It can’t be classified as a glacier because traces of ice haven’t been found in it for at least ten years”.*
The glacieret is very deep, but we don’t know the exact size and depth, that is extimated to be more than 15 meters. There is ice at the bottom and generally it almost never comes to surface, because it is covered by noticeable thick layers of snow. To check the quantity of accumulated snow we can refer to the karstic holes that we find on the sides of the pothole that contains the glacieret.
On the bottom, amidst the snow and ice, sometimes we can find little ponors that swallow the water that comes from the melting process: evidently under the glacieret there must a dolina with an active ponor, a very common phenomenon on the Majella, that, by draining the water, contributes to maintain snow.
The supply of the glacieret is eolic, since the hole that holds it catches the snow transported by the north-east wind that falls inside it and stays there. In the Winter of 2006/2007, since there were no atmospheric disturbances coming from the bora wind of the Adriatic side, this phenomenon did not occur and the Majella received very insignificant precipitations: as a consequence many snowfields disappeared and the glacieret we are talking about got smaller, with the ice that would come to its surface and melt under the sun ...
On August 23rd 2007, the glacieret was there with a layer of snow on it.
It survived in 2007 and 2008.
* taken from “Guide to the high part of the Majella” Comitato Scientifico Sez. Pescara, Carsa Edizioni, 2002
The artiche was kindly revised by dr. Massimo Pecci
Translation by Giuseppe Petricca