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Interaction of thermal and mechanical processes in steep permafrost rock walls : A conceptual approach

Title data

Draebing, Daniel ; Krautblatter, Michael ; Dikau, Richard:
Interaction of thermal and mechanical processes in steep permafrost rock walls : A conceptual approach.
In: Geomorphology. Vol. 226 (December 2014) . - pp. 226-235.
ISSN 0169-555x
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.08.009

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
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (KR3912/1-1)

Abstract in another language

Degradation of permafrost rock wall decreases stability and can initiate rock slope instability of all magnitudes. Rock instability is controlled by the balance of shear forces and shear resistances. The sensitivity of slope stability to warming results from a complex interplay of shear forces and resistances. Conductive, convective and advective heat transport processes act to warm, degrade and thaw permafrost in rock walls. On a seasonal scale, snow cover changes are a poorly understood key control of the timing and extent of thawing and permafrost degradation. We identified two potential critical time windows where shear forces might exceed shear resistances of the rock. In early summer combined hydrostatic and cryostatic pressure can cause a peak in shear force exceeding high frozen shear resistance and in autumn fast increasing shear forces can exceed slower increasing shear resistance. On a multiannual system scale, shear resistances change from predominantly rock-mechanically to ice-mechanically controlled. Progressive rock bridge failure results in an increase of sensitivity to warming. Climate change alters snow cover and duration and, hereby, thermal and mechanical processes in the rock wall. Amplified thawing of permafrost will result in higher rock slope instability and rock fall activity. We present a holistic conceptual approach connecting thermal and mechanical processes, validate parts of the model with geophysical and kinematic data and develop future scenarios to enhance understanding on system scale.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Rock stability; Rock permafrost; Snow cover; Thermal processes; Rock mechanical 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
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2019 09:43
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2019 09:43
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48597