France Prepares to Drain Alpine Lake

PARIS, Aug. 25 (UPI) — French engineers say they’ve begun an operation to drain a hidden like under a glacier on Mont Blanc that threatens to flood a valley.

The lake above the Saint Gervais Valley, which is believed to contain 2.3 million cubic feet of water, was discovered last month during routine checks, BBC News reported Wednesday.

Water from an underground lake flooded the same valley in 1892 killing 175 people, the BBC said.

Engineers are drilling through the ice of the glacier and will pump the water away, they said.

Saint Gervais Valley is a popular tourist area and home to some 3,000 permanent residents.

The hidden lake beneath the Tete-Rousse glacier holds enough water to form a torrent that could flood the valley in 15 minutes, potentially affecting 900 families, authorities said.

“The town didn’t want to wait for a catastrophe — we are taking action to prevent one,” Jean-Marc Peillex, the mayor of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, said.

A cold snap was blamed for creating the lake by freezing the natural drainage routes under the glacier, the BBC said.

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