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A general theory of rock glacier creep based on in‐situ and remote sensing observations


Cicoira, Alessandro; Marcer, Marco; Gaertner-Roer, Isabelle; Bodin, Xavier; Arenson, Lukas U; Vieli, Andreas (2021). A general theory of rock glacier creep based on in‐situ and remote sensing observations. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 32(1):139-153.

Abstract

The ongoing acceleration in rock glacier velocities concurrent with increasing air temperatures, and the widespread onset of rock glacier destabilization have reinforced the interest in rock glacier dynamics and in its coupling to the climate system. Despite the increasing number of studies investigating this phenomenon, our knowledge of both the fundamental mechanisms controlling rock glacier dynamics, and their long‐term behaviour at the regional scale remain limited. We present a general theory to investigate rock glacier dynamics, its spatial patterns and temporal trends at both regional and local scale. To this end, we combine a model to calculate rock glacier thickness with an empirical creep model for ice‐rich debris, in order to derive the Bulk Creep Factor (BCF), which allows to disentangle the two contributions to the surface velocities from (i) material properties and (ii) geometry. Thereafter, we provide two examples of possible applications of this approach at a regional and local scale.

Abstract

The ongoing acceleration in rock glacier velocities concurrent with increasing air temperatures, and the widespread onset of rock glacier destabilization have reinforced the interest in rock glacier dynamics and in its coupling to the climate system. Despite the increasing number of studies investigating this phenomenon, our knowledge of both the fundamental mechanisms controlling rock glacier dynamics, and their long‐term behaviour at the regional scale remain limited. We present a general theory to investigate rock glacier dynamics, its spatial patterns and temporal trends at both regional and local scale. To this end, we combine a model to calculate rock glacier thickness with an empirical creep model for ice‐rich debris, in order to derive the Bulk Creep Factor (BCF), which allows to disentangle the two contributions to the surface velocities from (i) material properties and (ii) geometry. Thereafter, we provide two examples of possible applications of this approach at a regional and local scale.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Earth-Surface Processes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth-Surface Processes
Language:English
Date:1 January 2021
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 14:26
Last Modified:09 Feb 2021 02:10
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1045-6740
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp.2090

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