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Surface morphology of fans in the high-Arctic periglacial environment of Svalbard: Controls and processes

De Haas, T. and Kleinhans, M. and Carbonneau, P. and Rubensdotter, L. and Hauber, Ernst (2015) Surface morphology of fans in the high-Arctic periglacial environment of Svalbard: Controls and processes. Earth-Science Reviews, 146, pp. 163-182. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2015.04.004. ISSN 0012-8252.

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Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012825215000641


Fan-shaped landforms occur in all climatic regions on Earth. They have been extensively studied in many of these regions, but there are few studies on fans in periglacial, Arctic and Antarctic regions. Fans in such regions are exposed to many site-specific environmental conditions in addition to their geological and topographic setting: there can be continuous to discontinuous permafrost and snow avalanches and freeze–thaw cycles can be frequent. We study fans in the high-Arctic environment of Svalbard to (1) increase our fundamental knowledge on the morphology and morphometry of fans in periglacial environments, and (2) to identify the specific influence of periglacial conditions on fans in these environments. Snow avalanches have a large geomorphic effect on fans on Svalbard: the morphology of colluvial fans is mainly determined by frequent snow avalanches (e.g., flattened cross-profiles, exposed fine-grained talus on the proximal fan domain, debris horns and tails). As a result, there are only few fans with a rockfall-dominated morphology, in contrast to most other regions on Earth. Slush avalanches contribute significant amounts of sediment to the studied alluvial fans. The inactive surfaces of many alluvial fans are rapidly beveled and leveled by snow avalanches, solifluction and frost weathering. Additionally, periglacial reworking of the fan surface often modifies the original morphology of inactive fan surfaces, for example by the formation of ice-wedge polygons and hummocks. Permafrost lowers the precipitation threshold for debris-flow initiation, but limits debris-flow volumes. Global warming-induced permafrost degradation will likely increase debris-flow activity and -magnitude on fans in periglacial environments. Geomorphic activity on snow avalanche-dominated colluvial fans will probably increase due to future increases in precipitation, but depends locally on climate-induced changes in dominant wind direction.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/100483/
Document Type:Article
Title:Surface morphology of fans in the high-Arctic periglacial environment of Svalbard: Controls and processes
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
De Haas, T.Faculty of Geosciences, Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands,UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Kleinhans, M.Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The NetherlandsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Carbonneau, P.Department of Geography, Durham University, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rubensdotter, L.University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, NorwayUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Earth-Science Reviews
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 163-182
Keywords:Mars, water, ice, gullies, cryosphere, permafrost, Svalbard
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Projekt MARS-EXPRESS / HRSC (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Hauber, Ernst
Deposited On:04 Dec 2015 15:22
Last Modified:04 Dec 2015 15:22

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