Recent evolution of Marmolada glacier (Dolomites, Italy) by means of ground and airborne GPR surveys

Ilaria Santin, Renato R. Colucci, Manja Zebre, Mauro Pavan, Anselmo Cagnati, Emanuele Forte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)
381 Downloads (Pure)


A 10-year-long evolution of ice thickness and volume of the Marmolada glacier is presented. Quantitative measurements have been performed by using two different Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) datasets. A ground-based survey using two different ground-coupled systems equipped with 100 MHz and 35 MHz antennas was performed in 2004. In 2015 the dataset was collected by using a helicopter-borne step frequency GPR equipped with a 100 MHz antenna. Through a critical discussion of the two different methodologies, we show how both approaches are useful to estimate the ice volume within a glacier, as well as its morphological characteristics and changes with time, even if datasets are acquired in different periods of the year.

The observed 2004–2014 ice volume reduction of the Marmolada glacier is equal to about 30%, while the area covered by ice decreased by about 22%. The glacier is now splitted in several separated units. It is very likely that the fragmentation of the Marmolada glacier observed in the period 2004–2014 was accelerated due to irregular karst topography. By applying the observed 2004–2014 ice-melting trend for the future although the Marmolada glacier might behave slightly differently compared to glaciers on non-karstic terrains owing to dominant vertical subglacial drainage, it will likely disappear by the year 2050. Only few isolated very small and thin ice patches will eventually survive due to avalanche feeding and shading at the foot of the north-facing cliffs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111442
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Early online date22 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Recent evolution of Marmolada glacier (Dolomites, Italy) by means of ground and airborne GPR surveys'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this