At a glance 2 min

A giant blanket to keep a glacier cool!

Although the artist Christo dreamed of doing it, he never did! Faced with global warming and the melting of glaciers, the company TenCate Geosynthetics has developed a specific textile tarpaulin to cover and thus slow down the melting of the Italian Presena glacier.
A giant blanket to keep a glacier cool!
A giant blanket to keep a glacier cool!

Located at an altitude of 2,700 meters near a ski resort in the Adamello Massif in northern Italy, Presena is in danger, like many other alpine glaciers. Since 1993, it has lost more than a third of its volume, a catastrophe for the ecosystem, but also for the local economy.

This is why the region commissioned the Carosello-Tonale Company in 2008 to try to protect the glacier from the heat of the increasingly sunny summers and thus slow down the melting of the ice.

Slowing down the melting of the ice while preserving the mountain's ecosystem

The chosen solution, a huge, almost invisible white canvas to cover the glacier surface, was designed and manufactured by TenCate Geosynthetics, the world leader in geosynthetic textiles, which developed a non-woven fabric made of 100% polypropylene filaments. Rot-proof, water and air permeable, UV-stabilized and with low thermal conductivity, the TenCate Toptex® GLS 340 fights against ice melting, limits snow-slides and thus reduces the risk of avalanche, without impacting the very sensitive flora and fauna of the alpine regions.

30,000 square meters of the fabric were laid on the snow in the first year, as soon as the ski season ended at the end of spring 2008.

100,000 square meters of fabric and six weeks to wrap the mountain

In 2020, an impressive 100,000 square meter white reflective sheet made up of 70m x 5m strips that unfold to between 2,700 and 3,000 meters were deployed to protect the glacier. Although the system is easy to set up, it nevertheless took six weeks to stretch out, sew and assemble the long strips on the mountainside to prevent them from slipping down the slope or splitting apart over time. It will take the same amount of time to remove them in the autumn.

Thanks to their optimal tensile strength and UV resistance, the same strips can be reused for several seasons.

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