June 24, 2024 at 2:25 pm

Venezuela Is The First Modern Country To Completely Lose Its Last Glacier

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

Glaciers have been receding for decades now, and despite dire warnings from climate scientists, we haven’t done whole bunch to stop it.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that all of the glaciers in Venezuela are no more.

The South American country had six glaciers spanning 386 square miles in 1910. Five were gone by 2011, with only La Corona – the Humboldt glacier – remaining.

Professor Julio Cesar Centeno explains that it is no more.

“In Venezuela there are no more glaciers. What we have is a piece of ice that is 0.4 percent of its original size.”

It used to cover 1.7 square miles.

Source: Shutterstock

Glacial coverage in Venezuela declined by 98% between 1953 and 2019, the rate of loss increasing rapidly after 1998.

The Venezuelan government had previously arranged for the Humboldt glacier to be covered with a geotextile blanket in the hopes of protecting it, but that plan sadly failed.

Source: Shutterstock

Critics have complained the blanket will eventually break down, contaminating the ecosystem with microplastics in the process.

“These microplastics are practically invisible, they end up in the soil and from there they go to crops, lagoons, into the air, so people will end up eating and breathing that.”

Venezuela hosted cross-country skiing events as recently as the 1950s, but those days are clearly gone now.

And climate change is coming for other countries’ glaciers soon.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read about 50 amazing finds on Google Earth.