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The Efficacy of Frost Weathering Processes in Alpine Rockwalls

Title data

Draebing, Daniel ; Krautblatter, Michael:
The Efficacy of Frost Weathering Processes in Alpine Rockwalls.
In: Geophysical Research Letters. (May 2019) .
ISSN 1944-8007
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL081981

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
Predicting the effects of climate change on alpine rock slopes: Evaluation of paraglacial and periglacial drivers of rockfall in the European AlpsNo information

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Abstract in another language

Weathering processes prepare and trigger rockfall, which is a key agent of alpine landscape evolution and a hazardous process. The relative importance of different weathering processes is hard to decipher, nevertheless, current knowledge assumes a dominant role of frost cracking in eroding alpine rockwalls. This study uses a laboratory approach to simulate volumetric expansion and ice segregation in four alpine rock samples, monitors crack deformation and quantifies frost weathering efficacy. Our results show that short-term volumetric expansion in cracks provides stresses up to 10 MPa over hours, while long-term ice segregation causes stresses of 1 MPa over days. While volumetric expansion in fall can reach critical fracture levels, volumetric expansion in early summer and ice segregation rather approaches subcritical fracture propagation levels. We conclude that subcritical crack propagation is the dominant antecedent process of rockfall initiation, which can be amplified by rare critical cracking due to volumetric expansion.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: weathering; frost cracking; subcritical cracking; periglacial processes; rockfall
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 > Chair Geomorphology > Chair Geomorphology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Oliver Sass
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 21 May 2019 07:31
Last Modified: 21 May 2019 07:31
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/49008