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From active to stable : Paraglacial transition of Alpine lateral moraine slopes

Title data

Eichel, Jana ; Draebing, Daniel ; Meyer, Nele:
From active to stable : Paraglacial transition of Alpine lateral moraine slopes.
In: Land Degradation & Development. Vol. 29 (2018) Issue 11 . - pp. 4158-4172.
ISSN 1099-145X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.3140

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
Biogeomorphic dynamics on lateral moraines in the Turtmann glacier forefield, SwitzerlandNo information

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DI414/22‐1
Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Köln e.V.

Abstract in another language

Abstract Many retreating Alpine valley glaciers leave large lateral moraines behind. Reworking of these landforms by geomorphic processes is one of the most important paraglacial processes in many Alpine environments. Although several studies investigated moraine reworking by gullying processes, it is not well known what happens when gullying ceases and why and when lateral moraine slopes become stable. This study improves the understanding of the paraglacial transition from active to stable Alpine lateral moraine slopes by assessing potential influencing factors, indicators for completed paraglacial adjustment, and its spatiotemporal patterns using a combination of geomorphic and ecologic data. A geomorphic and ecologic permanent plot survey and geomorphic mapping were carried out on three lateral moraine complexes in the Turtmann glacier foreland (Switzerland). Subsequently, permanent plot data were analysed using multivariate statistics. Our study suggests that ecosystem engineering by colonizing plant species, slope geomorphometry, and material properties are important factors influencing the paraglacial transition from active to stable slopes. Geomorphic processes are often absent once vertical vegetation layers and soil horizons develop, showing that mature vegetation and advanced soil development are valuable indicators for slope stability and completed paraglacial adjustment. In a conceptual model, we describe the paraglacial transition of Alpine lateral moraine slopes as a temporal sequence in which gullying (Stage I), solifluction (Stage II), and finally stabilization (Stage III) follow one after another. In space, paraglacial adjustment is heterogeneous, and resulting patterns can be explained by the identified influencing factors.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Biogeomorphology; Ecosystem engineering; Lateral moraines; Paraglacial; Slope processes
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Geomorphology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2019 08:09
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 08:15
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48590