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Seasonally intermittent water flow through deep fractures in an Alpine Rock Ridge : Gemsstock, Central Swiss Alps

Title data

Phillips, Marcia ; Haberkorn, Anna ; Draebing, Daniel ; Krautblatter, Michael ; Rhyner, Hansueli ; Kenner, Robert:
Seasonally intermittent water flow through deep fractures in an Alpine Rock Ridge : Gemsstock, Central Swiss Alps.
In: Cold Regions Science and Technology. Vol. 125 (May 2016) . - pp. 117-127.
ISSN 0165-232X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2016.02.010

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
Influences of snow cover on thermal and mechanical processes in steep permafrost rock wallsNo information

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (KR3912/1-1)
Swiss National Science Foundation (Project No. 200021E-135531)

Abstract in another language

Geological investigations and seismic refraction tomography reveal a series of 70° steep, parallel and continuous fractures at 2950masl within the Gemsstock rock ridge (Central Swiss Alps), at the lower fringe of alpine permafrost. Temperature measurements in a 40m horizontal borehole through the base of the ridge show that whilst conductive heat transfer dominates within the rock mass, brief negative and positive temperature anomalies are registered in summer. These have very small amplitudes and coincide with summer rainfall events lasting longer than 12h. In contrast, a complete lack of anomalous thermal signals during spring snowmelt suggests that runoff does not penetrate the open joints, despite high snow water equivalents of around 400mm. This is attributed to the development of an approximately 20cm thick, continuous and impermeable basal ice layer which forms at the interface between the snow cover and the cold rock on the shady North facing rock wall during snowmelt. Spring snowmelt water therefore does not affect rock temperatures in the centre of the rock mass, despite the presence of deep open joints. The mechanical impact of snowmelt infiltration on rock wall stability at depth is thus assumed to be negligible at this site.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Rock joints; Rock temperature; Rainwater infiltration; Basal ice layer; Snowmelt; Rock wall stability
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
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2019 09:37
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2019 09:37
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48596