ZANFLEURON PATH, Switzerland (Reuters) - A rocky Alpine path between two glaciers in Switzerland is emerging for what the local ski resort says is the first time in at least 2,000 years after the hottest European summer on record.
The ski resort of Glacier 3000 in western Switzerland said this year's ice melt was around three times the 10-year average, meaning bare rock can now be seen between the Scex Rouge and the Zanfleuron glaciers at an altitude of 2,800 metres and the pass will be completely exposed by the end of this month.
"About 10 years ago I measured 15 metres (50 feet) of ice here so all that ice has melted in the meantime," said Mauro Fischer, a glaciologist at the University of Bern's Institute of Geography.
"What we saw this year and this summer is just extraordinary and it's really beyond everything we have ever measured so far," he added, referring to the speed at which the ice has melted.
Since last winter, which brought relatively little snowfall, the Alps have sweltered through two big early summer heatwaves. The Alps' glaciers are now on track for their biggest mass losses in at least 60 years of record-keeping, data showed.
(Reporting by Denis Balibouse; Writing by Emma Farge and Francois Murphy; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)