Articles | Volume 65, issue 2
30 Jun 2010
 | 30 Jun 2010

Overview of rock glacier kinematics research in the Swiss Alps

R. Delaloye, C. Lambiel, and I. Gärtner-Roer

Abstract. The acceleration of rock glacier surface velocities over the two last decades and the destabilization of several landforms show that permafrost creep conditions are changing in the Alps. This article summarizes and presents current understanding of creep behaviour of rock glaciers in the Swiss Alps and emphasises changes that have occurred over the last years and decades. The almost homogeneous interannual behaviour of rock glaciers despite different geometry and activity rates indicates a common dependence on external climatic factors (summer air temperature, seasonal snowcover development) which govern changes observed in rock glacier creep rate. The article highlights ongoing efforts to document interannual variations of rock glacier kinematics for the whole area of the Swiss Alps.