Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

European Alps


Kellerer-Pirklbauer, Andreas; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle; Bodin, Xavier; Paro, Luca (2023). European Alps. In: Oliva, Marc; Nývlt, Daniel; Fernández-Fernández, José M. Periglacial Landscapes of Europe. Cham: Springer, 147-224.

Abstract

The European Alps cover an area of 190,900 km2, are arcuated in the western part, extend over a length of 1200 km, are up to 280 km wide, and reach their highest elevation at Mont Blanc (4807.8 m a.s.l.). Some 19% of the area exceed 2000 m. Up to 52% consist of carbonate rocks at the surface, which is relevant for karstification processes. During the Last Glacial Maximum, 55% of the Alps were covered by glaciers whereas the remaining area was impacted by moderate to severe periglacial conditions causing the formation of remarkable periglacial landforms still visible today particularly at the Alpine margin. During the Late Glacial period, previously glaciated areas were reshaped by periglacial processes forming for instance rock glaciers and solifluction landforms characterising many high-elevated regions in the Alps at present. Nowadays, active periglacial processes are restricted to elevations above 2000 m, at the central Alps to above 2400 m. Around 11% of the Alps are in this active periglacial belt, constrained by the potential treeline as the lower limit and the currently glaciated areas (1% of the Alps) as the upper limit. The widespread existence of relict and active periglacial landforms in the Alps inspired research of many scholars and scientists since centuries. Even Leonardo da Vinci made some periglacial-related observations in the late fifteenth century. Despite long traditions and comprehensive experiences in periglacial landform research, future periglacial research is still needed and will help to better understand the impact of ongoing climate change on the periglacial reshaping of this remarkable mountain chain.

Abstract

The European Alps cover an area of 190,900 km2, are arcuated in the western part, extend over a length of 1200 km, are up to 280 km wide, and reach their highest elevation at Mont Blanc (4807.8 m a.s.l.). Some 19% of the area exceed 2000 m. Up to 52% consist of carbonate rocks at the surface, which is relevant for karstification processes. During the Last Glacial Maximum, 55% of the Alps were covered by glaciers whereas the remaining area was impacted by moderate to severe periglacial conditions causing the formation of remarkable periglacial landforms still visible today particularly at the Alpine margin. During the Late Glacial period, previously glaciated areas were reshaped by periglacial processes forming for instance rock glaciers and solifluction landforms characterising many high-elevated regions in the Alps at present. Nowadays, active periglacial processes are restricted to elevations above 2000 m, at the central Alps to above 2400 m. Around 11% of the Alps are in this active periglacial belt, constrained by the potential treeline as the lower limit and the currently glaciated areas (1% of the Alps) as the upper limit. The widespread existence of relict and active periglacial landforms in the Alps inspired research of many scholars and scientists since centuries. Even Leonardo da Vinci made some periglacial-related observations in the late fifteenth century. Despite long traditions and comprehensive experiences in periglacial landform research, future periglacial research is still needed and will help to better understand the impact of ongoing climate change on the periglacial reshaping of this remarkable mountain chain.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2 January 2023
Deposited On:15 Feb 2023 14:58
Last Modified:28 Mar 2024 04:35
Publisher:Springer
ISBN:9783031148941
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-14895-8_9
Full text not available from this repository.