Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers

2011 Edition
| Editors: Vijay P. Singh, Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya

Rock Glaciers

  • John R. GiardinoEmail author
  • Netra R. Regmi
  • John D. Vitek
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_453


Rockglacier; Rock streams; Rubble stream


A rock glacier is a lobate or tongue-shaped landform consisting of rock debris and either an ice core or an ice-cemented matrix. This landform is distinguished by its distinctive series of ridges and furrows on the surface, which give the form its characteristic “wrinkled” pattern. Rock glaciers serve as distinctive reservoir for debris and water in alpine drainage basins.


The surface of Earth, a patchwork of landforms, is shaped by various geologic and geomorphic processes influenced by the various subsystems of Earth (Figure 1). Individual landforms on a continuous surface serve as magnifying glasses into the history of Earth by providing a record of how past climates and environments interacted with the surface through erosion and deposition. Rock glaciers, often spectacular landforms, are one of the most ambiguous forms regarding human understanding of the process(es) of formation. This essay will explain...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Giardino
    • 1
    Email author
  • Netra R. Regmi
    • 1
  • John D. Vitek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeophysicsTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA