Mass Movement Processes in the Periglacial Environment

Susan W S Millar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mass wasting is the gravity-driven downslope movement of surficial materials. In a perglacial environment the phase change of ice to water in the regolith contributes to the loss of the shear strength of slopes, resulting in slope failures at slope angles much lower than expected under nonfreezing conditions. Within a framework of slope stability analysis, this paper outlines the main factors influencing the shear strength of, and the shear stress exerted on, a slope to explain the unusual behavior of many slopes in a periglacial environment. These include ground-ice content, soil texture, vegetation cover, snow cover and duration, local topography, and frequency of the freeze-thaw cycle. A simple classification of common mass wasting processes is applied to examine slow movements such as creep and solifluction; and more rapid movements including rockfalls, snow avalanches, slushflows, retrogressive thaw slumps, and active layer detachment failures. Two important areas of research are the focus of recent contributions to the periglacial geomorphology literature. First, although historically important to periglacial studies, there has been a recent resurgence in the application of mass movement processes as criteria for reconstructing paleoenvironments. Developments and innovations discussed herein include analysis of soil and sediment characteristics, the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR), and dating of materials and surfaces using luminescence techniques and cosmogenic isotopes. Second, important contributions are emerging on the application of mass wasting deposits and landforms as tools to understand spatial and temporal patterns of recent global environmental change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTreatise on Geomorphology
PublisherElsevier
Pages374-391
Number of pages18
Volume8
ISBN (Print)9780080885223
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Fingerprint

periglacial environment
mass wasting
mass movement
shear strength
ice
solifluction
snow avalanche
freeze-thaw cycle
rockfall
active layer
slope angle
slope failure
regolith
ground penetrating radar
luminescence
soil texture
paleoenvironment
slope stability
stability analysis
snow cover

Keywords

  • Active layer
  • Creep
  • Global environmental change
  • Ground ice
  • Paleoenvironments
  • Periglacial mass wasting
  • Permafrost
  • Rockfalls
  • Slope stability analysis
  • Slushflows
  • Solifluction
  • Thaw consolidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Millar, S. W. S. (2013). Mass Movement Processes in the Periglacial Environment. In Treatise on Geomorphology (Vol. 8, pp. 374-391). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374739-6.00217-7

Mass Movement Processes in the Periglacial Environment. / Millar, Susan W S.

Treatise on Geomorphology. Vol. 8 Elsevier, 2013. p. 374-391.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Millar, SWS 2013, Mass Movement Processes in the Periglacial Environment. in Treatise on Geomorphology. vol. 8, Elsevier, pp. 374-391. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374739-6.00217-7
Millar SWS. Mass Movement Processes in the Periglacial Environment. In Treatise on Geomorphology. Vol. 8. Elsevier. 2013. p. 374-391 https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374739-6.00217-7
Millar, Susan W S. / Mass Movement Processes in the Periglacial Environment. Treatise on Geomorphology. Vol. 8 Elsevier, 2013. pp. 374-391
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