Rock glacier

Alternative definitions (7), class: vernacular (0)
Term: Rock glacier
Definition: A mass of rock fragments and finer material, on a slope, that contains either interstitial Ice or an Ice core and shows evidence of past or present movement. It is a cryogenic landform, supersaturated with Ice that if active, moves down slope by the influence of gravity which produces Creep and deformation of the Mountain Permafrost. Rock Glaciers do not form where there is insufficient moisture to form the interstitial Ice that permits movement of the mass. Some are believed to have been formed, at least partly, by burial of Glacier Ice. Active Rock Glaciers possess steep fronts with slope angles greater than the angle of repose. Rock Glaciers are said to be inactive when the main body ceases to move. Most Rock Glaciers have transverse ridges and furrows on their surface. In general, Rock Glaciers present a lobate shape with surficial morphology similar to a lava flow. However, especially in the central Andes, the morphologies can be considerably complex with multiple basins contributing material and the superposition of two or more lobes.
Created 2022.03.08
Last Modified 2023.03.27
Contributed by GCW Glossary