The Mandrone valley glacier (10.46 km2) at the head of Val Genova is part of the Adamello glacial complex. It is flat with radial tongues departing from the central body (“Scandinavian” type glacier). It has undergone a considerable regression since the early 19th century.
The Adamello/Mandrone Glacier is a tongue of ice that descends towards Val Genova. In the last few years it lost about 2000 m, becoming considerably thinner. The 2013-14 surveys in the ablation zone, on the right and left margins, showed intense melting phenomena at the base of the glacier. This has formed extensive cavities and made the structure unstable, which could suffer surface failures.
The Trentino glaciers now cover an area of about 30 km2 and are found in the main mountain groups, first of all the Adamello-Presanella massif, which alone has 48 glaciers.
The glacial extension is significantly lower than in the past. Some of the largest glaciers have lost, in just over 40 years, up to 42% of their surface. While for the Adamello Glacier the reductions have been minor.
Studies on the Adamello glaciers have developed with a certain systematic approach since the 1920s. Already in 1865 some of them were accurately represented in a detailed map created by Payer. He was the first conqueror of the Cima dell’Adamello as well as an attentive glaciologist. Here is what W.D. Freshfiled (1875) wrote.
“The vast central snowfield feeds glaciers that descend from each side. The highest peaks, such as the Carè Alto and the Adamello, are only small elevations on the edge of the plateau. Seen from up close they almost look like icy rocks, but from afar they look like very noble mountains that fall with large walls enclosed between two glaciers on the wild valleys that rise up to their feet. Imagine a large white sheet not evenly spread over a table, and its glittering hanging edges here and there between black and massive buttresses ”
The Adamello Mandrone glacier is one of the 61 geosites of the Adamello Brenta UNESCO Global Geopark.
New Italian Glacier Inventory (2015). 2011 Surveys.